After Manmohan Singh’s passionate address to the nation to explain the reasons behind what he called an ‘unpopular but unavoidable’ move by the government to raise prices of fuels, and appealing to the people to understand the need for it. There are a few things which I would like the government to address to themselves.
Sure the price hike is fair, but the government should ensure that the petrol, diesel, LPG, etc. that the consumers are provided with are not adulterated. There are several officers on the government’s payroll who are supposed to look into this, yet there is no indicator of any change. The LPG cylinders that reach consumers are not always fully filled, whereas petrol and diesel are often mixed with kerosene. This causes an increase in the expenditure of the maintenance of vehicles and low mileage. The only way to combat this is by enacting stringent measures. Regular surprise checks should be carried out and those who fail to follow these guidelines should be made to pay severe penalties in the order of lacs. As for those officials who do not perform their duties of carrying out the tests, they should be fired immediately to spare oil agencies of such incumbents on their payrolls.
While I agree that all the people should start taking steps to conserve energy and that they should take steps to use as less petrol as possible, but the government should take the first steps to set an example. People buying fuel guzzling vehicles like SUVs should be made to pay more duties, whereas the people buying vehicles that offer better mileage should be given greater subsidies. Hybrid vehicles should have minimal import taxes. Also, the train of cars that follow government officials should be reduced, and should also consist of cars that give better mileage. The condition of public transport is still despicable. Commuters would be encouraged to save fuel by using public transport instead of their own cars only if the transport offered is of some quality.
Politicians need to put their differences aside when it comes to matters of public interest. The death of the nuclear deal would cost our nation a great deal in terms of security of energy supplies. The BJP termed the price hike as ‘economic terrorism’ whereas the Left called it ‘political suicide’, yet more than 63 per cent of respondents to a survey conducted by a news channel said that the hike was justified. A democracy is, in Abraham Lincoln’s word, “democracy is a government by the people, of the people, for the people”, and since our government has failed to prove it is for the people, India doesn’t qualify to be called a democracy.
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