The government has justified high level of taxation on auto fuels suggesting that revenue from petroleum sector is important for running various developmental schemes but has refused to acknowledge the role played by higher prices of petrol and diesel in fuelling inflationary pressure on the economy.
Replying to a question on impact of rising fuel prices on country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in the Lok Sabha, minister of petroleum and natural gas Hardeep Singh Puri said that revenue generated by taxation (on petroleum products) is used in various developmental schemes of the Government like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana (PMUY), Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) and also to provide relief to the poor during the pandemic by schemes like Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) under which free ration was provided to 80 crore beneficiaries during April, 2020 to November 2020 and May-June 2021, free vaccination against Covid-19 etc.
He said that over the last 7 years, length of National Highways has gone up by 50 per cent from 91,287 km (as of April 2014) to 1,37,625 km (as on 20 March 2021). Highway construction per day in India increased almost 3 times from 12 km/day in 2014-15 to 33.7 km/day in 2020-21. So, the minister said cess is used for infrastructure development and also generates employment.