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The Assam government on Friday said that it has cut petrol and diesel prices by 5 and reduced the duty on alcoholic beverages by 25%. The new rates will be effective from midnight today.

Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today presented a vote-on-account for 60,784.03 crore in the House and withdrew an additional cess on petrol and diesel, making the fuels cheaper by 5 per litre.

"Speaker sir, at the peak of COVID-19, we had levied additional cess on petrol, diesel and liquor. Now, the number of patients has reduced... I am grateful to my cabinet colleagues who agreed to my proposal this morning to rescind this additional cess. Hence, petrol and diesel will become cheaper by 5 per litre with effect from midnight tonight, benefiting lakhs of consumers across Assam," Sarma said in his speech, according to a PTI report.

The announcement comes months ahead of the state assembly election and especially at a time when fuel prices have been touching new highs across the country.

The finance minister presented the vote-on-account for an aggregate expenditure of 60,784.03 crore in the state Assembly for the first six months of the current fiscal.

Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) rose from 2,02,080.85 crore to 2,48,796.15 crore between 2016-17 and 2019-20 at constant prices.

The annual growth rate stood at 7.71% in the period as against the rate of 6.11% at the national level.

"At current prices, the GSDP rose from 2,54,382.36 crore in 2016-17 to 3,51,317.77 crore in 2019-20 at an annual growth rate of 12.7% as against the all-India growth rate of 10.72%," Sarma said in the last budget of the first BJP-led government in the state.

During the period, the per capita income of Assam rose from 66,330 in 2016-17 to 90,692 in 2019-20.

The elections to the 126-member state assembly are likely to be held in March-April.

With agency inputs

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