Ahead of the Assembly elections in Assam, state Finance Minister Himanta Sarma on Friday withdrew an additional cess on petrol and diesel, making the fuels cheaper by Rs 5 per litre, reported PTI. The new rates will be effective from midnight.

The minister also proposed to remove an additional cess of around 25% imposed on alcoholic beverages last year.

Sarma made the announcements in the state Assembly while presenting the last budget of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. The elections to the 126-member state Assembly are likely to be held in March and April.

“Speaker sir, at the peak of Covid-19, we had levied additional cess on petrol, diesel and liquor,” Sarma said. “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 Rs 5 per litre with effect from midnight tonight, benefiting lakhs of consumers across Assam.”

The finance minister presented the vote-on-account for an aggregate expenditure of Rs 60,784.03 crore for the first six months of the next fiscal. Gross State Domestic Product rose from Rs 2,02,080.85 crore to Rs 2,48,796.15 crore between 2016-17 and 2019-20 at constant prices, he said. The annual growth rate stood at 7.71% in the period as against the rate of 6.11% at the national level, Sarma said.

“At current prices, the GSDP rose from Rs 2,54,382.36 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 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%,” the finance minister added.