Hike in Petro Products !

R.D. Bhardwaj

Last week, the oil companies have hiked the princes of diesel by Rs. 5.63 and premium petrol by Rs. 6.36 respectively besides putting a limit of six cylinders per year for all the families at the subsidised rates. They have also spelled out clearly that the additional cylinders can be purchased by them, but at the market price, which currently works out to Rs. 746 /- in Delhi. All the three oil companies have attributed these hikes to their under recoveries in all these items and depreciating value of Indian Rupee as compared to US Dollar, as originally these petroleum products are purchased in US Dollars and not in Indian Rupees.

It may be mentioned here that this is not the first time that the Central Govt. has hiked the prices of these items; rather they have done so for more than 30 times, since the UPA Govt. took over the reigns of the governance, and these hikes are really making the lives of the common people miserable. Not only that, the prices of so many other essential commodities of daily use have already touched the zenith and the ordinary man is being squeezed of his worth so quickly (particularly during the last three years) that he is hardly able to spare even a few thousand rupees to meet his emergency expenses. On the other hand, some of the leading newspapers also bring reports that the net-worth of majority of the leaders is galloping at such a high pace that it gets doubled just in 18 to 24 months. Let us now examine as to how the common man is being robbed of his valuable and limited pennies in the scenario of galloping inflation and whereas, the leaders are rolling in riches with their net worth going on to increase at the sky rocketing speed.

For the last couple of years, particularly since the UPA Government came to power at centre, so many scams have surfaced. For example – Stamp Paper Scam – Rs. 4,000 crores, 2G spectrum Scam – Rs. 1,76,000 crores, CWG Scam – Rs. 80,000, Adarsh Housing Scam of Mumbai, Iron Ore mining scam of Karnataka, Coalgate Scam for allotment of coal mines – Rs. 1,86,000 crores and now one more scam, namely Granite Mining Scam in Tamil Nadu has also come to light, which has been tentatively pegged at causing a loss of Rs. 16,000 crores, but the investigators reveal that it is likely to touch even Rs. 1.00 lakh crore. It means that such a huge amount of money which could have otherwise come into the national exchequer, and thereafter could have been utilised for the creation of lakhs of jobs for our youth (and thus, making their lives economically quite better off) and it could also have easily enabled the government to achieve a growth rate of more than 10%. But, this just could not happen, because lakh crores of funds instead of going into the national exchequer, have been very cleverly and stealthily siphoned off by the scamsters and might have either gone to their personal accounts or got deposited in far off in their foreign banks. As a result of it, the common man is being continuously being cheated of his share in the national prosperity by the plunderers of national wealth, as he is being forced to pay the much higher prices of the essential items which are never heard off, and the country is also lagging far behind its expected growth rate, as far as progress and prosperity index is concerned.

It is really a matter of huge concern and grief (and national shame as well) that hardly any efforts are being made for bringing the systematic plunderers of national wealth to justice, recover the huge funds from those economic fraudsters and scamsters. The govt. is continuously dragging its feet from taking some strong punitive action against them, as even the names of some leaders / ministers (both at Centre ans some States as well) also appear in the list of the beneficiaries of such scams and fradus. But, as the saying goes, the law should be applied equal to all, and as such, it becomes very much imperative for the Govt. to let the law prevail upon every thing else, and take remedial and punitive action on the wrong doers of huge amounts of national wealth, put them to their much deserving places – behind the bars. By doing so, not only many other such perverted minds shall also get a lesson to abstain from the lure of corruption and frauds etc., but the prices of these petro products could also be curtailed and maintained at the current level for many years to come, because huge funds to the tune of lakhs of crores can be thus, utilised to provide these petro products at the subsidised rates to well deserving poor families spread across the length and breadth of India.

Along with announcing of the upwardly revised prices of the petro products, the Central Government, has also announced its decision of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail business upto 49 %, which is not only going to hit lakhs of local retail businessmen, but also the crores of ordinary consumers miserably, as big business houses who are going to set-up their businesses here, shall not and can not sell their goods / products at the rates which can be otherwise made available by the local and small shop-keepers, which is very much required for crores of poor people because their earnings are limited. Hence, this decision of the government is certainly going jeopardise the interests of the common people and local retail shop keepers as well.

Now, coming back to the first issue, it is hugely regrettable to note that political morality and social values are being continuously eroded away by the current galaxy of politicians belonging to all political parties; particularly after the death of former Prime Minister, late Mrs. Indira Gandhi. No politician worth his salt ever speaks on eradication of corruption, black money, scams and financial irregularities & frauds etc., except when he is in opposition. Not only that, politics used to be taken as a sort of social service till the early eighties, but now strangely enough, it has been reduced to a lucrative business entity only. Make hay while the sun shines brightly – seems to be their only guiding factor for most of the politicians.

Nevertheless, as this latest hike in petro products is uncalled for and hitting the common man very hard, the Prime Minister is requested to please review it in the larger interest of the people and roll-back (at least partially) this increase as soon as possible. However, as far as LPG is concerned, it should be realistically observed that an average family of four members cannot manage with just six cylinders a year. In case old parents also reside with you, a cylinder will last just 20 days. In view of this, limit of giving just six cylinders to a family (on subsidised rate), should be better increased to 15-16 per year. And for requirement of more cylinders, its price could be enhanced by the oil companies by Rs. 100/- per cylinder, over and above the above mentioned ceiling of 15-16 cylinders to be provided at the currently subsidised rates.

And lastly, it should also born in mind that in now-a-days’ high inflationary atmosphere, even a person earning Rs. 30,000/- per month cannot be termed as rich, as sky-rocketing inflation daily makes a mockery of him when he has to grapple with the hard facts of the market realities. Those who make such schemes for the government cannot understand it properly, as they devise such scheme and revisions etc. sitting in the air conditioned cabins and are certainly not abreast with the hard facts of the market realities. And the common man should not be made to suffer for the inaction and lethargy of the government for its proper action to be taken on the plunderers of national wealth, which is making the poor the poorer and wealthy, the wealthier.