Insensitive Government, Meek Middle Class

I was surprised when yesterday Mother Dairy boy announced an increase of Rs 2 on a litre of all types of milk.

In the evening news I was shocked when I heard that petrol will be costlier by Rs 5 from midnight and commuters lining up the petrol pumps to fill up the tank. How much can a middle class consumer save with one full tank refill? Further, as reported, state-run oil marketing companies are mulling another similar hike that could come as early as next month. Pranab Mukherji hints at increase of diesel price. This price rise was the ninth in nine months. The government calls this rise as market based with no control from the government.

Surprisingly, as reported, the increase in petrol prices has made the fuel more expensive than aircraft turbine fuel (ATF), used to power planes. The reason is a skewed duty structure. Why is government so short-sighted?

All these are coming just after the results of various state assemblies are out. Is it not unethical arrogance? Can some protest marches of a particular opposition party provide relief?

How can the government keep on making the navratna PSU oil companies and Reliance profitable and collecting huge taxes in the government exchequer?

And interestingly, a government-appointed panel headed by former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar has proposed a four-fold hike in the IITs’ annual fee, from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh, so that the premier technology schools can become self-dependent. Will they make IITs elitist? I don’t understand how an IIT-alumnius can suggest that.

This government justifies the collection of the interest rates of 24-26% from the underpriviledged poor entrepreneurs by the microfinance companies who are just the middle men between PSU banks and the customer. And RBI has further increased the repo rate making all loans to the customers, be it for car or home costlier. After all these customers are from the middle class and not Ambanis and Mittals who go for multimillion dollars palaces.

The government is forcing the farmers to sell their produce at less than MSP? The price may further crash. A person such as Ashok Gulati, the chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), a well-known proponent of reforms and an agricultural economist with diverse experience, has made a strong case for intervention to check falling wheat prices either by allowing exports or purchase of foodgrains by the government agency, otherwise prices will crash.

How long will it go on? Does it require some Anna Hazare to make the government sensitive to price rise?

PS:See another example of the insensitivity of Indian government. As reported, “ one name in the high-profile ’50 most wanted’ list of fugitives submitted to Pakistan, Wazhul Kamar Khan, is actually living in Wagle Estate in Thane with his ailing mother, a wife and five children.” Is this the way a responsible government to run the administration?

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