Does hike in Petrol and Diesel Prices show a reckless,and insensitive Central Govt?At the time of installation of the BJP government in the centre, there was a bombastic talk of good governance, transparency, participation of people from all walks and what not. With time the government started showing that this party is no different from any other political party. They are even worse than their predecessors. At present, as we are seeing that retail selling price of Petrol has crossed Rs. 80 in most of the city headquarters of Maharashtra. The price of Diesel has crossed Rs 65. The situation in other parts of the country is more or less the same. Prices of Petrol & Diesel have always been an important factor in inflation. Now this is very clear from the data shared by the government itself that the reason of the price rise is the imposition of excise duty on petrol and diesel. The excise duty on diesel increased by over 380% and over 120% in the case of petrol since the BJP came to power.
Excise duty has been revised almost 11-12 times during the last 3 years. Some time the increase was more than Rs. 2 per litre. This was done without any mention of it in budget or elsewhere. What a transparency! The logic of this insensitive and reckless government was that consumers had got accustomed to paying high prices for these fuels and would be psychologically able to bear the burden. The price of diesel has been kept lower by the previous government as it also used in the politically sensitive farm sector. This government had seen an opportunity to raise funds from this lucrative source keeping aside the interests of farmers and under privileged farm workers. This shows double-speak of the government boasting 'sabka sath sabaka vikas'.
Petrol & Diesel were put out of the ambit of GST on the pretext of the demand from the states. GST, a so called big achievement of the government, would tie hands of the government from increasing the duty and the consumer would get the advantage of lowering the prices of crude petroleum in the world market. On the top, the government implemented daily price revision which has created confusion and added fuel to souring prices.
The government response to this is reckless and blatant. The government refused to lower excise duty and to roll back on daily revision of prices. One minister asking opposition party ruled states to lower their vat on petrol and diesel and the other minister shocked all by saying "we are going to tax people who can afford to pay. Somebody who has a car, bike; certainly he is not starving. Somebody who can afford to pay, has to pay," He conveniently forgot the majority of needy people who use motorcycles and farmers who use agricultural equipments need these fuels.