People's Democracy

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


No. 27

July 03, 2011



Organisations Call for Countrywide Protest


THROUGH a statement issued from New Delhi on June 25, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has strongly condemned the steep increases in the prices of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene by the UPA government.


The CITU said this action of the government would further add to the miseries of the common people who are already reeling under the pressure of galloping inflation, especially of food articles. The latest increase will have a cascading effect on the prices of all essential items and on various other expenses of the masses of the country. The withdrawal of five percentage points in customs duty has in no way benefited the common masses as the government has not restructured the taxes on petroleum products, which has been demanded by the trade unions all along.


The trade unions and various other mass organisations have been protesting against the increase in the prices in general and all the central trade unions in the country, along with various industrial federations, have been continuously struggling on the issue. On June 23, 2011, all these trade unions jointly conducted countrywide demonstrations, rallies and dharnas against the petro price hike in which hundreds of thousands of workers participated. But the self-styled ‘Aam Aadmi’s’ government of the UPA is insensitive to the woes of the poor people in the country.


The CITU has demanded immediate withdrawal of the recent increase in the prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene, apart from restructuring of the taxes on petroleum products.


The CITU has urged upon workers all over the country to go ahead with massive protest actions on these demands, and also prepare for united struggles against the anti-worker and anti-people policies of the UPA government.




The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) have condemned the Congress-led UPA government’s inhuman move to hike the prices of kerosene, diesel and cooking gas. In a joint statement issued from New Delhi, they have noted that the increase in the price of kerosene by Rs 2 per litre would hard-hit the poorest strata of the society which uses it as cooking fuel while the increase in diesel prices by Rs 3 per litre is bound to increase the transportation costs as well as the irrigation cost for the farmers. The cooking gas prices have been hiked by Rs 50 per cylinder, which would add to the burden on the common people. This unjust move by the government has come at a time when high inflation and price rise have affected all sections of society adversely. 


The AIKS-AIAWU statement said the recent hike decision has been taken despite the oil companies earning huge profits. They said the government’s move is aimed at revenue generation at the expense of common masses. In the wake of forecasts for monsoon not being very encouraging and reports that sowing activities for major kharif crops like paddy, pulses, oilseeds and cotton so far have been well below normal, the hike in diesel prices is bound to have an adverse effect on the production of these crops as well as on farmers’ incomes. Transplantation of paddy has come down by nearly 8 per cent when compared to the last year and in Punjab alone the area under paddy cultivation is down by 1.49 lakh hectares. Uttar Pradesh and Orissa are also lagging behind in transplantation of paddy. The area covered under pulses is lower by 8 per cent and that of oilseeds by a drastic 36 per cent. As the area under cultivation comes down, the employment opportunities for agricultural workers are also bound to fall drastically. In such a scenario of falling incomes, the peasantry and the rural poor who are net buyers of foodgrains and other essentials will be pushed to the verge of starvation. Instead of providing greater subsidies and providing diesel at subsidised rates, the government has resorted to such steep hikes in the prices of petroleum products. This shows the government as being totally insensitive to the plight of the peasantry, the rural poor and common masses. This move would be resisted with all our might, the two organisations said.


While demanding an immediate rollback of the unjust hikes in the prices of kerosene, diesel and cooking gas, the AIKS and AIAWU have asked all their state units to hold protest actions against this anti-people move across the country. 




While condemning in strong terms the latest hike in the price of LPG by Rs 50 per cylinder, kerosene by Rs 2 a litre and diesel by Rs 3 a litre by the UPA-2 government from the midnight of June 25, 2011, the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has noted that the government has simultaneously delivered a bonanza to the oil firms through tax cuts, revealing its bias in favour of the khas aadmi and against the aam aadmi.


Coming in the backdrop of back-breaking rise in the prices of all essential commodities and an inflation rate of over 9 per cent, the AIDWA said this hike would contribute to further immiserisation of the people. As it would have a cascading effect on the prices of food and other essential commodities, household budgets would shrink further and women will have to bear the brunt of the financial crunch.


According to the organisation, it is utterly shameful and shocking that the union finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, who headed the empowered group of ministers (EGoM), has described the latest hikes as ‘modest’ and expressed the hope that the state governments would reduce their taxes in order to provide relief to consumers. It is clear that the finance minister’s measures for addressing the problem of under-recovery are motivated by faulty fiscal policies.


At a time when the union government stands exposed on the issue of corruption and for having facilitated the siphoning off of crores of people’s money through its faulty policies, this additional burden on the people is no less than rubbing salt to the wound. A recent report by the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) has revealed that the same government walked an extra mile to ensure unwarranted gains for the Reliance Industries Limited in the matter of KG basin gas. This, according to the AIDWA, makes it clear that the government is continuing with its neo-liberal approach of benefiting the corporates and private profiteers, rather than safeguarding the interest of its people.  


The AIDWA has demanded that the union government withdraw the recent hikes forthwith, restructure taxes on the petroleum products and give up the ad valorem taxes. The AIDWA statement on June 25 said its units would launch immediate protest actions and militant demonstrations all over. It has urged upon women across the country to unite and join the struggle against the intolerable policies of the government, which are leading to a repeated and relentless rise in the prices of essential commodities.