Government shows girth and depth in aligning diesel price to the market

The decision by the Indian Government on January 17, 2013 to let oil marketing companies regularly jack up the price of diesel in line with the global price gyrations is a step in the right direction. Not only this would help reduce the huge oil subsidy bill the government had been running, but would greatly help people to be conscious of the cost of the fuel to adapt conservation, besides preventing adulteration of diesel with kerosene (another  highly subsidized fuel purported for the vulnerable sections) to run the cross-country truck business. It is time that the government began vacating its vice-like grip on the proper use of scarce national resources such as fuel so that the process of price recovery by market forces of demand and supply could be smoothly ensured. Of course, this might cause miseries to millions of poor people but in a country where entitlement schemes are permanent works in progress, the hardships could be borne with stoicism. Those who had bought diesel-driven auto fleet including costly Sports Utility Vehicles and other gas-guzzlers should stand to feel the pinch as this segment need not be unduly patronized by the authorities. As the nation is not endowed with enough energy particularly fossil fuels such as oil and gas, let it be clear by the  delayed but deserved action of the authorities that they no longer would remain a mute spectator to the profligate consumption of costly fuels by elements that do not believe in conservation culture and the value of nothing. Probably the market-aligned diesel price by degrees would help many a person to know the real value of the fuel they had been feasting on for far too long with no compunction!  Knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing is not the way to go if the nation is to  be built on sustainable model of development for the larger benefits of all its denizens. Jai Hind.  G.Srinivasan, Journalist, New Delhi, Inde

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