Withdraw the Cruel Hike in Petro Prices, Implement Better Alternatives Proposed by Parliament sign now

Withdraw the Cruel Hike in Petro Prices
Implement Better Alternatives Proposed by Parliament

We, the concerned citizens of the country, are apalled at the insensitivity shown by the government to the sufferings of aam admi, whose upliftment is supposed to be the guiding force of this government. At a time when the people of the country, particularly the poor and middle classes, are reeling under the impact of unprecedented rise in the prices of food and essential commodities, the UPA-II government has decided to deliver another cruel blow to the people. It has recently effected a steep increase in the prices of petrol (Rs 3.50 per litre), diesel (Rs 2 per litre), kerosene (Rs 3 per litre) and cooking gas (Rs 35 per cylinder). The prices of both petrol and diesel were increased by Rs 3 per litre just three months back during the budget.

Already there are reports on the cascading effect of this latest price hike. The food inflation rate which is presently hovering around 17 per cent and general inflation rate which is in double digits, are set to go up significantly with this hike. (See link for the impact of previous hike: http://news.in.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3676454 ) Similarly this hike will surely push food prices further up (see link: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/hyderabad/hike-fuel-price-make-food-costlier-964 )

The hollowness of the government's arguments justifying the hike can easily be seen from the fact that there has not been any substantial increase in the prices of international oil in the last three months. The real intention of the government appears to be to help the big private corporations to make much larger profits from the retail petrol trade. And to facilitate this, it is embarking on deregulating the prices of all petroleum products, including diesel, which will adversely effect the livelihood of the poor and middle classes. The decontrol will open the way for continuous increase in prices of petroleum products.

ALTERNATIVES

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas in its report to Parliament in August 2005 made concrete recommendations as alternate ways of dealing with international crude oil price fluctuations. Incidentally, this committee was headed by senior Congress MP N Janardhan Reddy and had among members apart from all parties, Mr Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Smt Sonia Gandhi !

Among the recommendations of the committee included the following:

* Rs. 7500 crore per annum cess collected from ONGC and Oil India Ltd. under the Oil Industry Development (OID) Act, 1974, which is not being used for the development of the petroleum sector, can be used to create a Price Stabilisation Fund, from which the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) can be compensated.

* If excise duties on petrol and diesel are cut by Rs. 3/litre, a further relief of around Rs. 12,000 crore can be provided to the OMCs.

For full details see the link: ( http://indiacurrentaffairs.org/pricing-of-petrolium-products/ )

Another important reason for these repeated hikes, which is kept in the dark by the government, is the huge tax bonanza the government gets through them. Fleecing the already suffering people in the name of correcting the notional under recoveries of oil firms is indeed cruel. See the link below for clear cut alternative tax options: http://indiacurrentaffairs.org/petroleum-taxes-the-untold-story-dipankar-mukherjee/ )
Finally, we quote here from the editorial in the esteemed national daily The Hindu, 28 Jun 2010 which reflects our opinion:
Opting for a steep hike in petroleum product prices in the midst of an inflationary episode is clearly mistimed, insensitive, and politically self-damaging. It also seems intended to favour the private companies that have been allowed to enter and expand in this sector. Private companies will treat any shortfall in profits as a loss and demand price adjustments. But they cannot be placated by unduly burdening the rest of society, especially the hundreds of millions of poor people. (See link: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article488999.ece )

In the light of above, we the undersigned request the central government to become little more sensitive to the problems and sufferings of aam admi and urgently rescind the decision of petro hike.

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Bob HorneBy:
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Government of India

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