The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
On Price Increase of Petroleum Products
The UPA government has announced an increase in the price of petrol, diesel and cooking gas. The price of petrol has been increased by Rs. 2 per litre, diesel by Re. 1 and cooking gas cylinder by Rs. 20. This price rise has come in the background of the deliberate decision of the previous Vajpayee government not to hike the prices during the period of elections despite the sharp increase in international oil prices.
The Polit Bureau appreciates the decision of the government not to increase the price of kerosene given its importance for the poorer sections of the people. However, the increase in the price of cooking gas of Rs. 20 per cylinder will be burdensome for a large number of families. The Polit Bureau would like the government to reconsider this decision. The increase in price of diesel of Re. 1 per litre coupled with the announcement of the hike in coal prices of 16.7 per cent will have a cascading effect in the economy. The government will have to take steps to meet such a situation.
The CPI(M) had urged the government to rationalise the existing duty structure so that the burden falling on the common people can be lessened. The government has not dealt with the import duty structure. The 10 per cent import duty on crude oil and 20 per cent notional import duty on petroleum products has brought about an anomalous situation which increases the burden on the people.
The Polit Bureau calls upon the government to make the pricing mechanism in the oil sector fully transparent as against the present opaque system which allows certain interests to garner benefits.