By Rimi Sengupta
Citizens of India have had to swallow the “petrol pill” more than once in the past one year. On this occasion, petrol became dearer by Rs. 3.65 per liter, diesel by Rs. 1.95 and cooking gas by Rs. 36.40 per cylinder. Kerosene prices, too, have gone up after a gap of eight years by Rs. 3 a liter in Calcutta.
This is a stringent measure that the UPA government has taken, forgetting its earlier promises that it would try its best to bring down prices of essential goods. Both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are knowledgeable enough to understand that permitting fuel prices to shoot up will result in an overall price rise. At a time when ordinary people are struggling to make ends meet, there are many alternative measures that could have been adopted by the government to cut costs. Instead, it chose to withdraw the subsidies on petroleum products and to let their prices be influenced by international rates. Our political leaders must understand that India is still not strong enough to compete in the international market. Moreover, a large portion of its population lives below the poverty line. The UPA government seems to have got into the habit of not keeping its promises.