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An idea to help mitigate high fuel prices

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The recent hike in petrol prices is surely grabbing lots of headline and providing unnecessary ammunition to the opposition. Of course the opposition will oppose anything that the this Govt does, as seen during  the Farm laws agitation where the opposition parties had promised the exact same thing and opposed it when Modi govt passed the laws but still one advantage that opposition has is the Govt needs to slip up only once and Opposition can make an issue out of it. The Govt and its supporters must accept this fact and just try to educate the larger electorate about the benefits of Govt schemes.

Lets now see the petrol hike issue, some states like Assam have reduced tax burden on the people deciding to forgo additional revenue in larger interest of the people. However states like Maharastra, Delhi and especially Rajasthan have one of the highest Tax rates and it is Rajasthan where recently petrol hit the century mark yet very few people questioned the State Govt about it. Also ruling party in Tamil Nadu which recently won an election has now decided that they will not reduce the State VAT but has passed the buck to Centre and this hypocrisy needs to be called out

Few die hard supporters of the govt on social media have said that even if petrol touches Rs200/- a liter the money is now being well spend on development activities so we should not mind it. Part of it is true that now the money is now well spend and is reaching its intend beneficiary but can the common masses really afford further rise in petrol?

One thing that I am disappointed with govt is that when the international crude prices go low either to supply glut or Covid-19 or any other international factors like more discovery of shale oil then Govt is not passing on the benefit of the low price by increasing taxes which is fair enough since there are good reasons NOT to keep petrol price low since in the long run it makes investment into alternative sources of energy like Solar and wind unviable. However when the prices rise the govt is not decreasing the taxes that was imposed when the prices were low and this is not going well with its supporters. Maybe the govt has its own revenue compulsion but its in tough on the common masses

Anyway the purpose of this article is not to rant about the hypocrisy of the opposition or even Govt  but to explore solutions for the problem. The most obvious solution would be to start using Electric vehicle  and or Solar battery  powered vehicles and this Govt has been more than proactive in getting Major companies in this field to invest in India  but the initial cost of this is still high and other technical challenges like getting  recharge stations in different parts of cities and highway still remain.

I am hopeful that this govt has the competence to overcome this challenge in the long term but the short term challenge remains

One possible solution worth exploring is to try selling petrol through PDS at slightly discounted prices. Now due to Aadhar linking with ration card lots of fake ration cards have been weeded out so the scope for leakage is minimal. Also this will make sure that only the poor and needy get subsidized petrol and not people who drive SUV’s.

Further there can be restrictions imposed on the amount of petrol that each ration card holder consumes like say 5 liters so that they don’t keep buying petrol in PDS and sell it to others at higher rates

This can be further expanded and with the help of linking Aadhar and Motor vehicle license two wheelers can be given a certain amount of petrol say 5 liters per month at subsidized rates delivered to their doorstep or in specific place. This will ensure that certain sections of society like delivery boys etc. who are now facing  issues with petrol prices can expect some relief.

I understand Indians will always try to break the system as we saw during Demonetization where bank employees helped in exchange of notes and now are protesting against Govt’s decision to privatize  banks but this idea of selling limited  amount of petrol through Aadhar linked PDS is worth a try.

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