Over the last three months, India has been witnessing fuel price hike on daily basis. So much so that some places in the country are even paying Rs 120 per litre of petrol. People have been taking on the fuel price hike for long time and they not questioned the government over its intent, while they believed that the price of one litre of petrol will touch Rs 200 very soon!
Fuel price is directly affecting country inflation and has been the reason for price increase of all the goods from edible oil to electronic goods; the prices have skyrocketed since last three years. Despite all these, the people are accepting it as a way of life and living with the increased price.
Gone are those days when even for slightest price change in fuel, the general public, the opposition parties and social activists come out on to the roads and conduct protests; sit-in protests, road blocks and Bharat Bandhs. But over the last few years, there seems to be no reaction from the public regarding fuel price hikes. In fact, there seems to be sense of denial to the fact that fuel prices are going up by the day.
But the Union government seems to have sensed trouble with continuous price hike of fuels and with line-up of states going for polls over the next one year, it seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDA government at the centre has decided to cut fuel prices by reducing the centre’s share of excise duty by Rs 5 and Rs 10 for a litre of petrol and diesel respectively.
Though the move is welcomed, people are not really happy about the price cut. “This is nothing to what they done to fuel prices in the country. The prices of fuel and LPS have been increased indiscriminately and with reduction of just Rs 5 the problems will not get solved. The government needs to do a lot more to gain the confidence of people,” said Secunderabad based businessman, Y Satish Kumar.
The Union government had also suggested to states to reduce fuel prices from their end. Few of the BJP ruled states, mostly which heading for elections in the coming months, have jumped into the bandwagon and have reduced the prices, while others are still to react on reducing state value added tax (VAT). Tamil Nadu has reduced VAT on fuel almost three months ago and set an example for all the states. But with pandemic and lockdown, most of the states’ treasuries are empty and they are not ready to take the risk of losing out income!
But why did Union government reduce excise duty and got ready to face a loss of Rs 1.4 crore per year to this move? The answer is simple. BJP will be facing elections in more than six states in coming one year, including the all-important Uttar Pradesh, so it was logical for this move to if they were seek mandate from the public. After from centre, the immediate reduction of VAT by poll-bound states is an indication that all the governments and political parties are concerned about their existence in power and not bothered about welfare of the people!
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