Adding fuel to fire

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/11/2018 11:51:34 AM IST

 Prices of petrol and diesel have been showing an abnormal trend of daily rise in the past few months as against the past when hikes used to be announced either every fortnight or week. While Modi and a core group within the BJP do not seem to be moved by the screams of the common people; there are many within the government who also feel the suffering of the common people and feel that something has to be done but are themselves afraid to speak out. Monday’s Bharat Bandh called by the Congress and supported by around 21 political parties against the price hike and demand for cut on excise and other taxes was justified. However, according to the media, the bandh had mixed response in various regions of the country. There is anger and frustration about the daily reports in the media about rising prices of petrol and diesel. Everyday hike in prices of petrol and diesel reported in the media is frustrating. The Modi government as reported in the media, had earned around Rs.3 lakh crore as revenue from oil products last financial year. The government is desperately trying to justify its refusal to cut down excise and VAT and other taxes due to profiteering. One of the argument is that the continued downslide of the rupee was responsible( but not mainly). The solace is that rupee is not alone in its downward journey as many others may join it. However, the pace with which the rupee is falling, is worrying. The dollar is gaining about 3 percent against many currencies but prices of petrol and diesel are not as high as in India. What the Modi government is doing with the economy is to ensure that the government gets rich to at the cost of suffering millions. Since GST failed to achieve the expected economic growth, the Modi government is trying to cover up by high excise duty on fuel. In spite of global crude oil prices being comparatively low (at around $70 per barrel), fuel rates are at record highs (petrol is at Rs 80.87 per litre and diesel at Rs 72.97 a litre in New Delhi). Since the Modi government came to power on May 26, 2014, international crude oil prices have come down to 73% of what it was. However, paradoxically domestic petrol and diesel prices have risen up to 108% and 123% respectively. This reflects the attitude of the NDA government. The government’s other plea for rising cost of petrol and diesel is that these are decided at international levels. However some states have already cut state and other local taxes in order to reduce the cost but end up losing revenue. The Bharat Bandh is a good shake needed to arouse public sentiments and to hold those in power accountable for the mess. The opposition may not be united for long but looking ahead, they need to seriously ask themselves if they are fit and prepared for the long haul and not take the success of the bandh as a done thing. The country demands answers on many issues and since these are not forthcoming, perhaps the voters will answer in the end.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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