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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Diesel Price Hike And The Curious Story Of The 7th Gas Cylinder!



How many cooking gas cylinders do you use a year or how many days one cylinder lasts for you! The frenetic calculations must be raging at the moment in households or in the minds of housewives across the length and breadth of India! The curious spectacle of the 7th cylinder must be getting embedded in various brains. But the first story first.
After months of introspection, retrospection and brainstorming the Government of India today took the courageous decision of hiking diesel prices by 12% or 5 rupees per litre. This is very courageous basically on two grounds; first, diesel has been the basic fuel of India used in various activities meant largely for the poor and the farmers and second, with the political opposition hounding for controlling inflation and the pressure of big and bigger scams building all the time the ruling coalition government was in a tight corner.
The fiscal deficit of the government that has been growing due to the heavily subsidized diesel, cooking gas and kerosene almost threatened a credit rating downgrade. Increasing crude oil prices in the international market and continuous fall in the Indian Rupee value against the US dollar the oil imports bill was growing with the oil companies making huge losses on a daily basis. The business experts across India hail this decision as a positive step forward to further reforms and a boost to the markets, and they appeal to the government not to resort to rollback. But the opposition political parties and the allies are already threatening a countrywide agitation and demand an immediate rollback. Well, the politics of economics or business is an old story in India. But now to the curious story.
The government found the decision to hike cooking gas, petrol and kerosene prices too politically risky at the moment and therefore decided to leave them untouched. But with a condition. There will a cap of six gas cylinders per year per household at the subsidized prices and if any family has to go for the 7th cylinder its market price which is nearly double will have to be paid. Since the year considered is the April-March financial year all households can have only three more cylinders till March, 2013. Any exception for the poor families has not been specified so far.
So then, single, married, nuclear family, joint family, large families…beware! Keep guard over your kitchen and on what you eat! Happy calculations!
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