MyVoice: Views of our readers 21st February 2021
Petrol and diesel prices are skyrocketing. In the State, a litre of petrol costs Rs 93 and diesel Rs 87. The price of a cylinder, which was Rs 771 on February 5, has now risen to Rs 821.
India staring at massive inflation
Petrol and diesel prices are skyrocketing. In the State, a litre of petrol costs Rs 93 and diesel Rs 87. The price of a cylinder, which was Rs 771 on February 5, has now risen to Rs 821. Ordinary, middle-class people are choking on this. Transport costs have risen as diesel rates have raised. As a result, the prices of all essential commodities have gone up.
Vegetables are widely available in the market during the months of January-February. But vegetable prices are skyrocketing this season as never before. In the past, employees used to spend Rs 1,500 a month to go to the office, but now it is over two thousand. Eighty-one percent of petrol users are motorcyclists! With the rise in energy rates the oil is being released on the people, especially the middle class. Petrol and diesel prices have been rising on a daily basis since the central decided to review fuel prices on a daily basis in line with oil barrel prices in the international market. If it had increased tenfold in January, it would have already increased nine-fold this month. If the price of fuel has gone up by twenty times in the last 48 days, the burden on the people has to be imagined.
There is also lack of clarity in what the central government is saying about fuel rates. Crude oil barrel prices fell by half when the world froze during the corona period. However, petrol and diesel prices have not come down in the country. The reason is that the central government considers oil as a golden duck. It is unreasonable to think of tax revenue from energy sales as a source of income.
Social media is buzzing over this century of achievement of petro products as the common man bears this burden of toothache as there is no other way but to burn like moths in petro fires. Taking this lightly, the Narendra Modi government is acting as if it is celebrating instead of taking steps to alleviate the people. World crude oil prices have fallen sharply since 2014, when the Modi government came to power. As a result, prices of petro products have fallen in many countries.
But in our country, it is different! As crude oil prices fall in the international market, the prices of petro products in the country are running beyond the drops. The basic price of petrol, which was around Rs 47 when Modi came to power, has now dropped to Rs 29.34. At the same time, the selling price rose from Rs 71.40 to Rs 95 across the country. Could this be the only example of the way petro exploitation is taking place!
The Modi government has made it a priority to suck the people out of the country even during the Corona crisis. Special programs have been launched in almost all countries, including the United States, to make cash available to poor people. The Modi government, however, announced huge packages for corporates and distributed pulses and jaggery to the poor. Considering the buzz in the form of indirect taxes, the impact of pulses is almost nil, the burden of hardships is solid!
Look at these calculations! Crude oil prices have fallen 5 per cent against the dollar over the past 14 months in international markets. Petrol and diesel prices in the country have gone up by 20 per cent compared to January 2020. In the United States, along with neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, prices fell by 5 to 7 percent during this period. The decline was also seen in countries such as China and Korea, where the local currency is stronger than the dollar. It is shocking that in our country; prices are not falling, but are moving towards the highest growth in the world.
Energy consumption cannot be detached in modern development. In civilized life it has become a necessity. Under these circumstances it is irresponsible for the government to leave fuel prices to the market. The new budget imposes a cess on agricultural infrastructure and development (AIDC) to replace the basic, exclusive additional excise duty rates. On the other hand, the excise duty was hiked by Rs 3 per litre after March 2020 due to declining tax revenue during the corona period. With this, the excise duty on a litre of petrol has gone up to Rs 32.98 and on diesel to Rs 31.83.
In fact, the price of a litre of petrol at a retail dealer in Delhi was only Rs 19.48 as on January. Dealer commission is Rs.3.50. And everything else is a tax burden. It is the responsibility of the Central Government to make the fuels available to the masses. Even in low-income, backward neighbouring countries, petrol and diesel prices are lower than ours. The central's free advice is to skip the issue so that states can reduce VAT on whoever asks to reduce prices.
The state governments, which are vying for a share in the taxes levied by the central, have not even nominally questioned the burden being placed on the people. Over the past three years, the excise burden on the central and state governments has been around Rs 14 lakh crore across the country. States usually have a share in central government taxes. However, in recent times, the Center has been importing that share by imposing cess which the states are not required to share.
Of the budget proposals recently tabled in Parliament, it is estimated that Rs 3.20 lakh crore will reach the central exchequer through petro sales for the 2021-22 financial year, of which the share of state governments is only Rs 7,000 crore (2.1 per cent)! State governments are levying additional taxes and VAT to replenish their own coffers. The result was a blow, a slap in the face to the common man. All sectors will be severely affected by the rise in petro prices. Commodity prices will rise. The purchasing power of the common man drops. This will further collapse the country's economy. However, if the Centre thinks that the interests of the corporates are paramount, then the common man must reach the point where he can no longer bear the flames of prices and touch that hot central ruling party seat!
— Dr N Khaleel,Hyderabad
Our democracy deserves electoral reforms
This is with reference to the edit page article " One nation and one election" by K. Krishna Saagar Rao (THI: 19-02-2021). Our democracy is virtually at the crossroads as much as we have presently in siege of a misplaced opportunity providing for a single political party in ruling as against an opposition party to counter the former. Hence, a catch 22 situation has been created in our country wherein the Centre and the States are not in unison politically with regard to governance leading to fragmentation of democracy on party and political lines.
In the present day socio-political set-up of our democracy, the concept of one nation - one election has become a far cry and an elusive proposition or a reality. A less dearer / costlier concept of one nation and one election has of late become a misplaced privilege and opportunity for India , because of decentralisation of governance by states wherein the ruling parties are regional and distinct from that at the centre.
Ever since the coalition party governance has come to exist at the Centre with a national party in the lead, there has been a privileged opportunity for the regional parties to take up the reins of power at the states thus giving rise to a paradoxical situation contradicting uniformity of governance between the states and the centre. Hence, this anomaly has given rise to the hiatus in regard to the conduct of elections to the parliament and the state assemblies.
Due to the phenomenal increase in the number of political parties across the states, the electoral process too has undergone a change due to more number of contestants present in the fray each time. This paradox has obviously given rise to the complex and complicated
conduct of electoral process which involves not only political corruption but also a great deal of expense of public and government exchequer rendering such a process more dearer and redundant in true letter and spirit.
In view of inapt electoral system existing in our democracy , there is a dire need to bring about a new political and electoral reform that not only changes the very quality of governance but also impacts poverty alleviation , public welfare and scientific approach / logic present behind the current election system continuing unchallenged over the decades.
The current electoral system is basically replete with massive corruption and inefficiency in the nation. During the last 70 years, the successive governments and the Election Commission of India have seldom initiated electoral reforms except changing the mode of election nuance from ballot to EVMs. It is really undaunting to note that there is an allusion by the present government under Modi to bring in electoral reforms during the current term.
The current electoral system that breeds corrupt and criminal minded people's representatives should be given a quiet burial. As the electoral process has turned the voters into a corrupt lot due to the practice of vote for note , the same has to be redeemed through bringing in a reform. As conducting elections is an expensive exercise , a new election system must be introduced to avoid frequent elections to save public exchequer.
— Bh Indu Sekhar,Hyderabad
'Metro Man' may be derailed by BJP
Apropos to your report "Metro Man' throws his hat in the right for Kerala CM Post" (THI 20 Feb). There is no doubt the technocrat who was instrumental in developing Metro trains in different cities across India had impeccable character and down to earth honesty who cannot tolerate anybody with vested interest attempting to realign metro lines for their own benefit. It is well known in the initial stage of Hyderabad metro, an attempt was made to change lines and the way the Metro should be built and run, he realised something fishy is happening to align the lines in the interest real estate, he opted to withdraw from the project.
We have similar seen personalities with no political background entering politics to do something for the people without any personal ambition for power etc unlike the real politicians. Unfortunately, we do not know their whereabouts now. Legendary T N Seshan made an attempt to enter politics and finally had to come out. While I have nothing against Sreedharan joining BJP at the age of 88 years, will he be made Chief Minister when the current leadership of BJP have packed of hard core veterans like Advani, Joshi and others in "Margdarshak Mandal". The former straight forward General Khanduri who initiated Highway development was shunted off for raising various on Defence as Chairman of parliamentary committee.
What happened to Jaswant Singh and the list are endless. Though the BJP may take him on great fanfare as they will have someone whose face well recognised not only Kerala and rest of India, it is premature on his part to have straight away thrown his hat for the post of Chief Ministership of Kerala shows that technocrat is yet to understand the politics in India irrespective of the party which one wants to serve. Even former Congress Chief Minister of Karnataka and Union Minister S M Krishna got a grand welcome and was thereafter seen in few election rallies and nowhere to be seen. One would be sorry for Metro man meeting the same fate after BJP achieves its purpose of making solid ground in Kerala.
Moreover the Kerala voters unlike other states do not simply vote for the sake of voting a particular party or person, they always think before casting their vote, no wonder they would not allow any party stagnate for too long for years like West Bengal, Gujarat etc where a party has been allowed to continue in power for years. As Metroman and technocrat like the people of rest of India people of Kerala may respect and like him, but once the person shows his true ideology and thinking join politics, they would look upon him differently even if the person is clean and honest as it had happened when Dr Manmohan Singh fought his first and only LS Election of from South Delhi and T N Seshan from Gandhinagar did not get the voters support.
— S Natarajan,New Delhi
Clamp down on anti-national protests
Of late the voice against the central government in general and brickbats against the PM in particular is ringing loudly in public and social forums. Our PM seems to be the most criticised PM in the world. Criticising of his actions by the Opposition and Rahul in particular, has become a daily routine of a day.
Also the urban naxals, so-called social activists, anti-nationals, left leaning press, mislead the youth of this nation by train their guns against the government. This is quite unfair and runs against the tenets of a democracy. The recent arrest of Disha Ravi is a witness to this action. A 22- year- old girl, who herself is not a farmer, alleged to have subscribed to the farmers agitation electronically.
Furthermore, there are certain group of people who participate in all the protests held at the NCR against the government, whether it is students protest, CAA protest or farmers' one. They create chaos and violence. The farmers protest went on peacefully for over two months. But the Republic Day violence seems to have been staged. These trouble mongers should be taken to risk.
The raise of such voices should not be allowed to grow in a democracy. It cuts the very root of democracy. In the name of freedom of speech and expression, government, the judiciary, the people, law and order should not be taken for granted. The government and the Judiciary must wake up to the situation and see such unnecessary anti- national voices disrupting the peace of the nation do not ring again loudly. Law, peace and order must be maintained at any cost.
— Sravana Ramachandran, Chennai
Honouring Lal Bahadur Shastri
The government should honour Shastriji's ideology by using the gold worth Rs.27.29 crore, which is lying in a cupboard in Udaipur Collector's office(THI 20,Feb). I am sure that Shastriji would not have yielded to weigh him with 56 kg gold even if he'd returned alive to India in Jan.1966 after Tashkent talks if not were otherwise destined. I know of politicians who were weighed with gold and have dubious standards not to disclose the gold thus weighed but thanks to the Rajasthan/ Udaipur admn./Courts have kept that unused gold safe. Shastriji was a poor student to the extent that he'd to cross the river to go to his Institution for want of ferry fare. He'd rather be pleased had that gold's value escalated been utilised for a noble cause as such deemed fit, educating poor worthy students, Shastriji's was a selfless PM who did not own a house, but his memory dwells in countless hearts.
— Dr T Ramadas,Visakhapatnam
Sharmila is welcome in TS
This is with reference to V.Ramu Sarma 's article "Will Sharmila make an impact on TS politics". Sharmila was known as Jagananna Banam and she was majorly responsible for Jagan Mohan Reddy's success in A.P. You rightly said that many disgruntled people from these sections will support Sharmila. Motivational speaker Brother Shafi and revolutionary singer Gaddar meeting Sharmila assumes political significance. Running a political party in this current circumstance would not be easy and it will be a herculean task for her to float and sustain a party,yet it is appreciable that she is starting a new party.
Some are terming sharmila's proposed party as benami party. Congress party accuses that it is a KCR's game plan to split the anti- incumbency votes in the next elections. Some opine that Sharmila is B team of BJP party. TRS failed to achieve Bangaru Telangana, BJP is not strong enough in all parts of Telangana and Congress is leader-less. So there is a political vacuum in Telangana. Sharmila believes that there is scope for a new player in T.politics. So sharmila will be welcomed by Telangana people .
— Zeeshaan, Kazipet.