People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 25

June 20, 2010



EGOM must not Ignore Parliamentary Committees


THERE are coming disquieting reports that the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) is soon to take up the issue of deregulating the pricing of petrol and diesel as per the Kirit Parikh committee recommendations. (Originally the EGOM was scheduled to meet on June 7, but it will now hold its meeting later.) It is believed that the EGOM is likely to increase the prices of these petroleum products by Rs 3 to Rs 3.50 per litre.

In this context, through a letter written to the prime minister on June 5, CITU general secretary Tapan sen has drawn his attention that such a decision would have a cascading effect on the present unbearable situation of inflation. Besides, it would also go against the unanimous recommendation of the parliamentary standing committee on petroleum and natural gas. Placed in parliament on April 22 this year, the committee’s report said:

“The committee notes that the Expert Group headed by Dr Kirit Parekh committee has made several recommendations on ‘viable and sustainable pricing of petroleum products.’ In this regard, the committee urges the government not to consider the expert group recommendations in isolation but to give due weightage to the recommendations made by the committee on petroleum and natural gas in their sixth and tenth reports (to the 14th Lok Sabha) on the pricing of petroleum products.”

The letter further said the executive is accountable to the parliament and not vice versa and, therefore, the Parikh committee, appointed by the executive, was not entitled to ignore or sideline the above recommendation --- read along with the recommendations made in the sixth and tenth reports to the 14th Lok Sabha. This would only erode to a large extent the credibility of the parliamentary committees and parliament. The CITU leader has therefore urged upon the prime minister to advise the EGOM not to take any decision before getting the same examined by the parliamentary committee constituted for this purpose.

A copy of the letter was also sent to Pranab Mukherjee who is the chairman of the EGOM. (INN)