The recent hike in the prices of petrol and diesel has led to major discontent among the citizens of the city. To add to this, the recent remarks of the Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam who remarked –
“Vehicle owners are people who are “not starving” and can afford to pay for petrol.
He went on to say that all the money collected goes to the poor and it is an intentional decision taken by the government. So, we are going to tax people who can afford to pay.
Our citizens ask today if the hard-earned money of the middle class are not worth introspection? Is petrol a luxury or a necessity ?
We at Pune365 spoke to a cross section of Puneites to gauge their reaction:
Sagar Rukari, Vice President, Petrol Dealers Association, Pune: Earlier in 2013, when crude oil was $110 per barrel, petrol price was around Rs 75 per litre and diesel was around Rs 55 per litre with excise duty of Rs 6 and Rs 3 respectively. But now, even though the crude oil prices have fallen from $40 per barrel the current prices are much higher. This is majorly because of central excise duty (Rs 24/litre on petrol, Rs 18/litre on diesel) and state cess tax (Rs 11/litre on petrol, Rs 2 on diesel). There has been around 60% increase in prices overall because of the taxes imposed. I believe, petroleum should be considered under GST which will considerably decrease prices from 65% to 28%.
Parth Welankar, Media Student: It is sad to see a Union Minister making such comments. Petrol is a product linked to the daily lives of the citizens. Rather than finding a solution to the increasing prices, such statements are unacceptable. The intent of creating reserves at a time when international rates are low; this can be adulated, but at the same time, domestic problems related to fuel should not be trivialised by such insensitive statements.
Manali Bhilare, President, Uvati NCP, Pune city:
It is insensitive of the minister to give such statements. With such price hikes, the common people are always affected. The public transport system in the city is also not good which leaves people with no option but to travel by their own vehicles. With the drastic fall in crude oil prices, the prices of fuel are still increasing. This shows that the government is at fault. They should revise their taxation policy and reduce central excise and other taxes. Moreover, even after GST nothing has become cheap. I think he should introspect on his own statement and the government should seriously look into the matter.
Daaud Khan, Finance Consultant: Fuel is not just for day to day consumption. Our entire network of logistics and transportation also directly depends on it. A rise in the price of petroleum products increases the overall prices in the market. Also, going by the income index, almost 28% population constitutes the middle classed who are already suffering inflation. Crude oil prices are at its minimum yet the benefits are not being passed to the public. In my opinion, instead of rising the prices and bombarding the public with taxes daily, may be its time government should start collecting the waved off loans from the billionaire industrialists, so that money flows into the economy.
Ishaan Wasu, Media Professional: The Union Minister has been arrogant and has provoked the ire of the public by his statement. With his blunt assertion that vehicle owners aren’t so poor to express their grievances on the increased fuel prices, he underlies the statement of the government that came into power on the basis of political disclosure that made people believe that they will be dedicated to public and fiscal policies. But at the end, they too began to follow the footsteps of the erstwhile government. If taxes are arbitrarily hiked to exploit a captive market such as that for petroleum products, it only reflects the government’s monopolistic behaviour but also undercuts the principles of taxation with representation as the government follows weekly price revision as it doesn’t have parliament’s approval.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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