Friday, October 28, 2011

Bluffing on fuel prices

Do you   know that?

1. Central and state governments have been bluffing all of us that they have no role in hiking of fuel (petrol, diesel and LPG) prices?

2. About 50 % of the price we pay is extorted as tax. Because this tax is a percentage of the price, they extort more and more every time the prices are increased.

3. They have been earning about Rs.1,50,000 crores from the sale of petroleum products each year, mostly extorted from unwilling but helpless aam admi. This clearly shows that governments have been deceiving people and making huge profits at their expense from sale of petroleum products.

4. The central subsidy this year is likely to be less than Rs.23,000 crores, leaving a huge profit of Rs.1,27,000 crores. Hence subsidy is not a real cause for high prices.

5. International price is not the culprit either. A front page display in Times of India dated 18-09-11 showed that petrol price in India is the highest $3.95 per litre and double of that in China ($1.95) which comes second. It is only $0.76 in USA. It is beyond belief that govrernment is foolish enough to pay such exorbitantly higher international prices than other countries. Neither can the method used for comparison explain such huge differences.

6. Prevention of budget deficit is not a proper justification because it can be achieved much better by (1) preventing gross misuse and wastage of public funds due to inefficiency, grave irregularities and corruption in the system and (2) postponing projects that can wait for better times.

7. A basic defect of these taxes is that they burden rich and poor alike, both directly and indirectly by the spiraling cost of everything including essential things needed by the lower and middle classes already suffering from inequitable development.

8. In 2005, Standing Committee on Energy of Parliament had urged government to reduce its reliance on petro-taxes. Ignoring this, revenue from petro-taxes is being repeatedly increased, showing scant respect for Parliament which is repeatedly stated as supreme (whenever it suits!).

[Please see the article “Need to rethink and act urgently on fuel prices” for more details]

Lack of an ethics of care for aam admi is crystal clear on the part of governments which go on merrily making profits from sale of fuels, ignoring even the recommendation of the Standing Committee of Parliament, while aam admi, are badly suffering. It is surprising that none of our MPs or the media (even those who are normally out spoken) have questioned government on these inhuman and undemocratic actions, though raising such questions is one of their responsibilities to the public.

This state of affairs will not only persist but become worse unless there are strong protests from people. The only way out is to put pressure on governments to:

1.      Stop collection of fuel taxes immediately
2.      Present a white paper covering all aspects of buying petroleum products and fixing fuel prices, in order to clear all issues and properly plan future actions.

An essential first step is to quickly make people aware of the above facts by forwarding this mail and the  article to as many persons as you can. If you can spare a few minutes and forward these to at least 10 persons you can feel satisfied that you have made a good contribution to lowering of fuel prices and thereby inflation to reduce both direct and indirect suffering of millions of people. Even if you are not affected by high fuel price, this gives you an opportunity to demonstrate that you care for other less fortunate people.


·        All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
- Edmund Burke -