The decision taken by the Centre to allow oil marketing companies to revise the price of diesel has “set the process of decontrol in motion,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said here on Thursday adding that the move will only ensure “super profits to the oil companies” while increasing the burden on the people.
Mr. Yechury also said the sop that the Centre has announced to soften the blow, by raising the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders is “a pittance” as every family knows that it needs not more than one cylinder a month.
“This decision taken by the Central government to virtually deregulate the price of diesel is going to impose heavy burden, both on the common people and on the economy, particularly our agrarian economy which continues to remain in a state of distress,” Mr. Yechury told journalists.Mr. Yechury pointed out that allowing oil companies to price diesel according to international rates is “completely irrational” because India does not import diesel, but imports crude.
“So the cost of production in India should be calculated on the basis of the imported price of crude oil and the cost for refining. Instead, they wish to go to the international benchmark which is much higher and will inflate the price of diesel in India giving profits to the oil companies and imposing burden on the people,” he said adding that it will also have “a cascading effect on inflation.”
Mr. Yechury said the Centre’s decision will become a major issue in the nationwide protests organised by the CPI (M). The Central Committee is finalising plans for ‘jathas’ from all parts of the country that will converge in Delhi.
On being asked if the CPI (M) will invite other political parties to join these protests, Mr. Yechury said other political parties were welcome, but the party has learnt bitter lessons from the protests against foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.
“We have our own experiences of those who have opposed FDI in retail, those who joined us on the roads, those who were arrested along with us — in the final analysis, in Parliament went and voted with the government,” he said.
He said the Centre’s decision was not surprising as it was a part of a package “of appeasing international capital to come into India.” He said other decisions, including FDI in retail trade, banking reforms and postponement of General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR), were part of this neo-liberal trajectory.
“We think UPA II government has become completely insensitive to people’s agonies. They are only catering to the profits of international finance capital or to big business in India, but not looking at improving the living condition of the people,” he said.