Achhe din only for Modi Government as petrol and diesel prices hit a 55-month high

Mumbai: PM Modi may not believe in history repeating itself but needs to keep in mind his vociferous campaign against the UPA government on petrol hike. Modi had then described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a “Sardar (chief), who is not asardar (effective)” (Ref: IndiaToday.com).  He had a good reason to say so: in May 2012, the UPA government had approved the steepest ever hike in petrol prices across the country with rates in New Delhi reaching Rs 73.18 a litre.

Curiously, under PM Modi, prices seem be caught in a similar spiral. On Friday, petrol and diesel prices hit a 55-month high as global crude prices surged to $74.74 a barrel, the highest since November 27, 2014. In Mumbai, which has one of the highest local taxes on fuels, petrol price rose to Rs 81.92 a litre, the highest since September 14, 2013, when it was being sold for Rs 83.62. Diesel price rose to Rs 69.50 a litre, the highest since August 31, 2014, when it cost Rs 67.27 per litre.

Curiously, when Modi became prime minister, almost for three years the price of crude kept plummeting — from USD 113 per barrel in May 2014 to USD 50 by January in 2015. Yet the government did not pass on the benefit to the ‘aam aadmi’. Rather, duty on petrol was cumulatively hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre between November 2014 and January 2016. The government more than doubled its revenue from oil in these 15 months – from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 242,000 crore in 2016-17 (ref: Indiatoday. com)

But as far as the common man is concerned, India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel in the subcontinent. At an election rally in New Delhi in February 2015, Modi had reasoned that his luck was benefiting the people and they were saving money. Facts suggest to the contrary: Not only is the petro hike burning a deep hole in the people’s pocket, the government never passed on the benefit of falling crude prices to the consumer, preferring to rake in the moolah itself. In a veiled reference to Arvind Kejriwal, Modi had also told the potential voter in Delhi: if the common man is saving money, then what is the need to bring in someone who is unlucky?”

PM Modi needs to ponder over his own thoughtful words. Modi government doubled its revenue from oil in 15 months — from Rs 99,000 cr in 2014-15 to Rs 242,000 cr in 2016-17 – by not passing the benefit to the consumer. Rather, duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by Rs 13.47 a litre between Nov 2014 and Jan 2016.

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