Editorial

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By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/29/2018 10:22:03 AM IST

 For the first time since August 2014, the price of petrol and diesel in India touched an all-time high where petrol rose to a whopping Rs.78.05 per litre in Delhi and diesel to Rs.69.46 per litre. Quite surprisingly there has been no howl of protest from the opposition, unlike during the period of Congress-led UPA government, when the BJP and Left not only protested but also agitated both within and outside parliament to corner the government. During the UPA government, price of crude oil in the global market skyrocketed to $107.46 per barrel in 2011 and the price of petrol was Rs.70.66 per litre and diesel was Rs.45.28 per litre. When crude prices further shot up to its highest in 2012 to $109.45 per barrel, the price of petrol was Rs.73.53 and diesel was Rs.52.63 per litre. When the BJP came to power in 2014, the price of crude sank to $96.29 per barrel, the price of petrol marginally went down to Rs.68.86 per litre but the price of diesel rose to Rs.57.91 per litre above the 2014 price. What has seemingly annoyed a lot of Indians is the rate at which the Central government has constantly hiked the excise duty on petrol and diesel since it took office. The Modi government’s justification is that the additional revenue generated after levying excise duty is distributed to the state governments and used for delivering a host of welfare schemes. The Modi government last fiscal year earned a whopping Rs.2.7 lakh crore from excise on petrol and diesel. The focus on earning revenue and cutting down on deficit and also taming inflation may be good business for the government but it’s an argument that is falling on deaf ears because it’s hurting ordinary citizens where it hurts most- their pockets. Statistics apart the slowdown is pervading all areas – industry, agriculture, services and jobs. The government maintains that all is not that gloomy. It continues to stoutly defend demonetisation as if to mean this has cleansed the system of ‘black money’. Only an economist can look for solutions but the note ban impact still remains. The parallel economy is not always negative, like deficit budget. Organised bankers and financial sector view parallel economy as a derogatory word. India forgets that the great 2007-08 sub-prime crisis that shook the West and the US emanated from failure of the banking and financial institutions. India sailed through the global market crisis because of its cash – parallel economy. The note-ban has hit the poorest hard, not the rich. The worst hit are farmers, medium and small businesses, small workers and labourers. Also the severe constrictions imposed by the departments like income tax or issues like GST are acting as dampener. Entrepreneurs, industrialists or any business cannot thrive under the shadow of fear or being forced to pay slush money. The solution is in unbundling, trusting the people and not punishing the ordinary. Like the media and other low-end enterprises have to pay GST on meagre advertisement like earnings but they have to also pay heavy corporate income tax. It is contrary to the concept of GST. Modi will have to make Jaitley revisit the economy to fine tune it for 2019 and correct the wrongs done and hoping it will not be too little and too late.

 

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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