OPINION: Relief to Kitchen
Author(s): Harish K. MongaThe Centre Government announcement to increase the supply of domestic gas cylinders from six to nine at the subsidised rates is a relief to the kitchen of common man. In the past, there had hardly been so much...
The Centre Government announcement to increase the supply of domestic gas cylinders from six to nine at the subsidised rates is a relief to the kitchen of common man. In the past, there had hardly been so much protest for a long period on the decision of the government but for ceiling the limit of supply of gas cylinders. There was not too much protest on increase of diesel rates and railway fare perhaps these decisions does not affect the common man’s daily life and people were prepared for the increase in rail and diesel prices to some extent. In fact, the increase in price of gas cylinder upset the budget of the house. Normally, with one gas cylinder, the one cylinder does not go for a full month and in such circumstances, there was not too much relief with six cylinders at the subsidised rates and with nine cylinder, a common family will enjoy the half gas cylinder at the cheaper rate. In case, the state governments show the gesture of goodwill towards the common man, it can give subsidy on the remaining three cylinders so that there is relief on the economic burden when one cylinder per month is available to the common man.
Statistics shows that the burden of subsidy on gas cylinder is around Rs.18,000 crores. To reduce the deficit of budget, it is necessary to reduce the subsidy amount not only on gas cylinders but also on some other items like POL and diesel to bring at par the rates at the international level as India imports about 80 per cent of its oil requirement.
In fact, subsidy is linked with other problems also like increase in petrol prices is frequent as it is termed as fuel of the privilege class whereas diesel is used for public transport. The factual position is that the low income people maintain their two wheeler and four wheelers of petrol driven vehicles whereas the luxury vehicles run on diesel. Everybody knows that the maximum subsidy is on kerosene oil and this is the reason that it is used for mixing with the diesel. The cheaper gas cylinders are sold in the black market for commercial use. Despite all this, the government should reconsider over reducing the subsidy on domestic gas cylinders.
The most important factor involved with the increase of prices of gas cylinder is that the poor people would switch over to the use of wood and coal which use dangerous in two ways; one it will pollute the environment and second, it will also affect the health of the people. To make available the gas connection at the cheaper rates to the poor and easily available, the subsidy on kerosene can be reduced and subsidy only on domestic gas cylinders can be maintained. The production of natural gas can also increased because of availability of natural resources in abandon and in such a situation, it would not be impossible to provide the cheaper fuel to the people.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of City Air News.)