The Leader of Opposition who met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and senior ministers including deputy CM O Panneerselvam, Dindigul C Srinivasan, KA Sengottaiyan, P Thangamani, SP Velumani, D Jayakumar and MR Vijayabhaskar, at the Secretariat, had a brief discussion on the report which was prepared by a five-member DMK-panel led by former Union minister TR Baalu.
The report prepared by the panel comprising of former ministers K Ponmudy and KN Nehru, DMK labour wing leader M Shanmugam, and Krishnagiri MLA T Senguttuvan, recommended that the double taxation of diesel by central and the state governments. While the report urged for the removal of existing taxations on diesel, it sought the diesel be brought under GST and to a levy of a uniform of 10 per cent GST. The report billed an annual saving of Rs 1,600 crore for transport corporations if its suggestions were implemented. It also suggested Administered Pricing Mechanism, which was earlier practised by the Union Petroleum Ministry and to launch a Central Pool Account for state-transport corporations and a Coordination Authority. The report sought the state to make payment of motor vehicle insurance mandatory and to pay the premium. Administrative reforms, revenue generation through advertisements and courier services by transport corporations among others figured in the report. Speaking to reporters, Stalin noted that the state did not provide any assurances on the recommendations made in the report, adding that the CM was non-committal. When asked about the Opposition’s next course of action, Stalin said, “We will convene another all-party meeting and discuss.”
Questions absence of President, PM and Governor
Stalin wondered as to why President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit refused to attend the unveiling of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s portrait in the Assembly, despite the invitations being extended to them. “Fisheries minister D Jayakumar should respond to this than raising questions on Murasoli Maran’s portrait being unveiled in the Parliament. Had Jayalalithaa been alive, she would have been sharing the Bengaluru Prison with Sasikala,” said Stalin. He clarified that his intention was not to demean the deceased leader. The LoP wanted to know with what integrity Jaya’s portrait was installed in the Assembly, which upholds the democracy and is run on taxpayers’ money, and that he had no objections to display Jaya’s portraits in private and party offices.