Justifying the steady increase in petrol prices, Union Minister of State for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam on Saturday said that those using petrol for their cars and motorbikes are not poor, and that “somebody who can afford to pay should pay more tax”. Following a reception at the BJP state committee office here, the newly-inducted minister said that those who use petrol are not starving, and can afford to pay more.
“The government is aware of the protest against the hike in the price of petrol,” he said. “(But) why is the price increased? Sixty-seven per cent of people in the country don’t have toilets, lakhs of crores of rupees are required to make toilets for them and to construct houses for all. If 4 km of national highway was constructed a day under the UPA regime, the BJP is now making 35 km of national highway a day. The digital revolution has to be taken to all villages.”
Stating that all this requires money, Alphons said, “Somebody who can afford to buy petrol should pay more tax.”
Alphons said the Narendra Modi government at the Centre is laying emphasis on the welfare of the poorest of the poor. “All the money at the disposal of the government had been stolen by the ministers of the previous UPA government. The Prime Minister or other ministers are not stealing the money. It is used for the welfare of the downtrodden.”
He said a tax on petroleum products can come down if it was brought under the ambit of GST. But states are not ready to bring liquor and petroleum products under GST, he said. The minister said the Centre will consider bringing petroleum and liquor under GST if state governments agree to it.