(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 3, 2013
‘Transferring People’s Cash to Corporate Pockets’
THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has condemned the decision of the Congress-led UPA government to decontrol the diesel prices and allow the oil marketing companies to arbitrarily hike the prices. This, the AIKS said, would lead to hikes in the prices of all essential commodities as well as increase the irrigation costs and the costs of transport. The poor, the cultivating peasantry and other masses would be adversely hit by this move. Within no time the oil companies have hiked the price of diesel by 45 paise per litre, excluding the taxes.
The AIKS statement issued by S Ramachandran Pillai and K Varadha Rajan, its president and general secretary respectively, on January 19, also pointed out that the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has also announced that subsidies would no longer be available to bulk diesel consumers and that the prices would be determined by the market forces. This implies an increase by Rs 9.25 per litre, excluding the taxes. However, the effective hike of around Rs 10.80 a litre for bulk diesel consumers like the railways, transport undertakings, power sector and many other sectors would only spark off an overall hike in transportation costs, costs of power generation and in many other sectors. Already the rail fares have immediately been hiked and the Railways have claimed that this move would lead to an additional 30 per cent increase in fuel costs, which effectively means an annual burden of Rs 2,700 crore on the people. Oil companies are also seeking to bring the diesel prices in Indian to a par with international prices. This, the AIKS said, betrayed logic as India imports crude oil which is then refined here. There is no way this price could be at par with the global price of diesel.
The oil marketing companies have also raised the price of the domestic non-subsidised LPG cylinder by Rs 46.50. While the demand has been to remove the unjustified cap on the number of cylinders for domestic use, the government has capped it at nine cylinders per year. The cost of the subsidised cylinders will now be Rs 410.50 while a non-subsidised cylinder would cost not less than Rs 942. The move, the AIKS said, would only burden the common masses further. The AIKS has therefore demanded the withdrawal of the decision to cap the number of subsidised cylinders for domestic use.
The organisation further said the deregulation in petrol and fertilisers in the recent past has led to an arbitrary and uncontrolled rise in the prices of petrol and fertilisers. The present decision will ensure that this would be the order of the day for diesel also from now on. The irrigation costs for the peasantry will only keep rising. The prices of gas cylinders for domestic use will also see a similar trend. This government, which has been resorting to farcical “cash transfers” by resorting to deregulation, is actually transferring people’s money into the pockets of profiteering private companies. On the pretext of cutting down fiscal deficit, it is doing away with subsidies which provided some relief to the poor even as massive tax concessions are being given to the rich and the corporate sector.
The AIKS has called upon all its state units to hold massive protests against these anti-people moves.