‘COVID-19 has impacted its other sources of income’
Minister for Cooperation S.T. Somashekar, who is also the Minister in charge of Mysuru district, said taxing fuel was necessary for the government to raise revenue, particularly when COVID-19 had impacted its other sources of income.
When he was addressing a press conference in Mysuru on Saturday to discuss the contributions of the Union Budget 2021-22 to various sectors, Mr. Somashekar’s attention was drawn to the increasing price of petrol and diesel, besides other essential commodities.
Though he initially tried to duck the question by claiming that it was due to fluctuation in prices, which not only go up, but also come down and that oil was not produced in India, but imported, Mr. Somashekar was asked why the government could not reduce the rate of tax on petrol and diesel so that fuel became more affordable to the common man.
He said the rate of tax may have been increased during COVID-19 when there was little or no economic activity owing to lockdown. Since the last one year, the economic condition of the country was in a bad shape. Even now, the economy was not picking up, he lamented and added that there was a huge difference between the economic conditions that were prevailing before COVID-19 and now.
However, he said the government move to tax fuel was not to inconvenience the public, but to raise revenue.
He said the Centre had set aside a large sum of money for India to emerge as a healthcare hub in the world. As against the ₹94,000 crore earmarked for providing basic facilities in healthcare, the country had set aside ₹2.23 lakh crore this year.
Also, the amount of funds earmarked for creating basic facilities in the agricultural sector this year would be ₹1 lakh crore, he said.
For Karnataka, a sum of ₹10,904 crore would be released for 1,197 km of National Highway, ₹14,788 crore for second phase of Namma Metro project, and ₹4,870 crore for different railway projects among other proposals in the Union Budget 2021-22.
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