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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    June 05, 2008

    Where's the vision, Mr. Prime Minister?

    Petrol, diesel and LPG prices were hiked yesterday by Rs. 5 per litre, Rs. 3 per litre and Rs. 50 per cylinder. The Left parties are up in arms, and as usual, will be forcing general strikes across the country on behalf of the people of India they claim to represent.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suddenly realized that he had a responsibility to address the country's citizens and explain the rationale behind the drastic increase.

    The saddest part of the PM's speech is the lip-service given to investing in the exploration & tapping of alternate non-crude sources of fuel, such as the sun, water, winds. There was no mention of the budget allocation for these efforts. Of course, this was too good an opportunity for him to let go. So he made sure he referred to the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy deal when he said 'We have to develop renewable sources of energy, including nuclear energy.'

    But really, I was keenly looking forward to the PM presenting his vision of how India would move away from its reliance on crude. Surely, if global crude price increase is such a significant contributor to inflation & has the potential to drag down economic growth, it makes sense to gradually switch to alternate sources of energy. Yet, there was no such vision on display.

    There's very little chance that crude oil prices will dip, given the instability associated with Iran and Iraq. So will the government keep issuing oil bonds to be paid for by a future generation? Will the government do something about the oil marketing PSUs? Does India really need three of these (Indian Oil, Bharat Petroluem & Hindustan Petrolem)?

    Will the price of petrol ever be an easy-to-make-sense-of value? The prices in various cities are: Rs. 50.56, Rs.55.88, Rs.54.29 and Rs.55.07. Why can't the public be saved the torture of hunting around for small change? Just round-off the prices to the nearest 50 paise and spare us the torture!

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