India’s recent move to slap savage hike in petrol price

   That the Indian government gathered spunk to slap the steepest increase in petrol prices after a protracted phase of reform-fatigue had not surprised many because talks of ‘tough decision’ or ‘biting the bullet’ were heard prior to this punitive measure. But what left many flummoxed is the severity of the hike particularly on one fuel, leaving the bloating subsidy on diesel or cooking gas(liquefied natural gas) largely intact. It is widely known that diesel is being adulterated with kerosene (also a highly subsidized fuel for the vulnerable sections) and most of the heavy-duty trucks that criss-cross the country belch smokes use this merrily and extensively. Of late India’s booming affluent class also prefers to use diesel-driven high-end auto fleet and the subsidy on diesel borne by the tax payers money is a mockery of concerns for the underprivileged. It is time the authorities showed mettle in promoting conservation or moderation in consumption by effecting increase in the prices of diesel or cooking gas, mostly consumed by the affordable sections of society. For farm purposes diesel price can be given at a concessional rate so that farmers do not suffer on this score. It is one thing to preach austerity but it requires immense foresight and wisdom to put it into practice by taking incremental moves towards recovering cost of products sold or services rendered without savagely hurting people where it hurts them heavily.

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