Bike, car owners can afford costly fuel: Alphons
Atrocious statement: Cong
Who buys petrol? Somebody with a car, somebody with a bike. Certainly they are not starving... Somebody who can afford to pay has to pay.
— K.J. Alphons, Union minister
Stoking a row, Union minister of state for IT and tourism Alphons Kannanthanam on Saturday justified the rising petrol prices, saying those who can afford to own cars and bikes can also afford to pay higher prices for fuel.
Maintaining that the Narendra Modi government had decided to hike petrol prices to improve the lives of the downtrodden, he said that to provide food, house, toilet, education and employment to the poor, the government is sourcing revenue from petrol prices. “Prime Minister Modi has a huge dream for the poor of India. Thirty per cent of Indians go to bed without a square meal a day. There are several people who do not have access to toilet or a proper dwelling house... So we are going to tax people who can afford to pay. Somebody who has a car, bike, etc is not starving. Somebody who can afford to pay has to pay,” the former bureaucrat-turned-minister told reporters at the BJP state headquarters here.
If state governments allow, petroleum and liquor would be brought under GST, he said.
Mr Alphons’ comments come at a time when fuel prices are at a three-year high though international crude prices have crashed.
The Congress hit out at Mr Alphons for being insensitive to the common man’s problems.
Former petroleum minister M. Veerappa Moily called his statement atrocious and said, “Bureaucrats who come to politics, have no understanding of people’s problems.”
During the UPA regime, he added, benefit of low crude prices was always passed on to consumers.