We will regulate all liquor shop timings and reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel to “zero” if the BJP comes to power in Telangana, said NVSS Prabhakar, the BJP manifesto committee chairman on Saturday. The BJP is contesting in all the 119 Assembly seats in the state and is yet to officially release the party manifesto.
Speaking to TNM, the BJP leader gave a sneak peek into the party’s manifesto that he says will be released in the next few days. Other political parties contesting elections are yet to reveal what they plan to include in their respective party manifestos. Telangana goes to polls on December 7.
“We will not ban alcohol in the state, we will only regulate it. All liquor and wine shops will work only between 10 am to 6 pm, and work only five days a week. We don't want the excise department to be viewed solely as a revenue-generating entity,” said Prabhakar. “We will include this in our party manifesto as we do not want alcohol to ruin people’s lives and society,” he added.
BJP also intends to bring down VAT charged by the state, 32% for petrol and 27% for diesel, down to “0%”, he said.
“The present VAT being charged in Telangana is very high, so we have decided to write off the VAT totally, already our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has asked all states to reduce VAT on fuel. We took this decision, keeping his plea in mind,” said the BJP leader.
When asked if reducing VAT on fuel in the state was practical, Prabhakar replied, “When people in other states can get fuel for cheaper rates why should people in Telangana alone suffer? We will mobilise state treasury to find other revenue generation sources, human resources, natural and some other development resources. There are other options we can explore.”
The party has also come up with sops to attract urban voters in Hyderabad, Karimnagar and Warangal by charging just Rs 6 per month per household for water in the state, he said.
“We have decided to supply potable water at Rs 6 per month per household across the state. At present people pay high amounts and the water bill of a household goes up to Rs 250 to Rs 300. When the Delhi government (ruled by BJP rival Aam Aadmi Party) can do it, why not in Telangana?” said the BJP leader.
The BJP hopes to provide 1 lakh jobs to fill government vacancies within three months of coming to power, he added. “We will set up free online coaching and career guidance centres at different places for students appearing for competitive exams in the state. The guidance will be there from the time of application to the time of the exam,” said Prabhakar.
The BJP also intends to cancel surcharges presently levied on commuters by TSRTC buses for trips undertaken during festivals, Prabhakar said. The party also intends to woo TSRTC employees by ensuring that a portion of the corporation's profits goes to the employees, he said.
The party intends to constitute a “task force” to protect the lands owned by the waqf board and other religious institutions once they come to power. They also intend to phase out older autos and buses by giving the owners new pollution-free vehicles, the leader said.