Meghalaya cabinet regularises decision to revise fuel tax rates

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Shillong, Feb 17 (PTI) The Meghalaya Cabinet on Wednesday regularised the decisions of the government to revise the tax rates for petrol and diesel twice this month, reducing fuel prices by over Rs 7 per litre, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said.

The tax rate was first revised last week which slashed the retail prices of both petrol and diesel by Rs 2 a litre.

The state government on Tuesday again lowered value-added tax (VAT) on the two petroleum products resulting in reduction in the prices by over Rs 5 per litre.

'Earlier we had done it for Rs 2 and yesterday we again revised the new tax rates for petrol and diesel. Both these decisions were regularised in the Cabinet today,' Sangma told reporters.

It was also decided at the Cabinet meeting that tribal mining leaseholders will have to pay 100 per cent of the stamp duty in line with a court order, and not just 50 per cent, as was initially interpreted.

'There was a court order that required mining leaseholders to pay 100 per cent of stamp duty. It was initially thought that the mining lease falls under the instrument of conveyance wherein schedule caste/schedule tribe lessees need to pay only 50 per cent of the stamp duty,' Sangma said.

The chief minister asked all mining leaseholders to immediately pay the rest of the 50 per cent stamp duty within March 31 next.

'We are expecting to get an additional Rs 27 crore through this,' he said.

The Cabinet also decided to amend the Meghalaya Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2006 which will enable the government to borrow up to 5 per cent of the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

'You are aware that because of the COVID situation, the government of India has allowed all states to borrow additional 2 per cent. Accordingly, an ordinance was passed to amend the FRBM Act to allow the state government to take up to 5 per cent of the overall GDP as debt,' Sangma said.

The state Cabinet also approved the appointment of 45 junior engineers under the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department bypassing the Meghalaya Public Service Commission (MPSC).

'The PHE department had conducted interviews and about 45 junior engineers needed to be appointed urgently. There is a shortage of manpower for the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission,' the chief minister said.

The Jal Jeevan Mission is a drinking water supply project.

The recruitment procedure when undertaken through the MPSC could take more than a year to complete, he said. PTI JOP NN NN