Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 29 March 2023 10.26 AM IST

Don't know about crude prices dropping?


Crude oil prices are falling in the global oil market. Experts say that prices falling as low as $72 a barrel over the course of a week, is due to the failure of some banks. But one of the main reasons for the drop in oil prices is the decline in global demand for oil. This is not the most disturbing thing. Although major oil exporting countries of the world have reduced the price, it did not create any stir in our country. Not only that but the price of cooking gas was hiked two weeks ago. Last May, when the price of crude oil was 115 dollars, a liter of petrol was charged around 108 rupees in the state. Petrol is being sold at the same price in the country even though crude prices have fallen by 35 dollars. Diesel prices also remain unchanged. Rs 96 and above per liter.

The explanation of the central government is that the price of petroleum products is fixed here in proportion to the international price of crude oil. But there is never any comparison between the price outside and the price here. Extortionate duties imposed by the central and state governments on the prices fixed by the oil companies force people to pay high costs for petroleum products. It is obvious that the state governments are not at all favorable in terms of duty reduction. Even when the GST reform was implemented, petroleum products were exempted from it.

Even the political parties who were strongly opposing the high tax structure of petroleum products are swallowing their old words when they got into power. In Kerala, apart from the existing duties, a cess of Rs.2 per liter on petrol and diesel will come into effect from April 1. People have to bear this extra burden. All parties come to power by promising administrative measures to reduce the burden on people's lives. But the promises will soon be forgotten after getting into power. The next thought would be on what all commodities on which tax can be raised. With the advent of GST, the possibility of imposing additional taxes on products seems to have disappeared. Cess is the alternative way invented. Loopholes for rate hikes are being sought in the service sector as well. In spite of improving the exchequer by doing all sorts of tricks, it is a situation where we have to borrow every month to pay for our daily expenses.

Whatever may be said, it is a fact that the high cost of petroleum products is making the daily life of a large number of people in the country more difficult. The reason for the price hike in all sectors is the continuous increase in the price of petroleum products. Ordinary families, who form the majority of the population, bear the difficulty of this. The massive hike in cooking gas prices earlier this month despite no provocation has been unaffordable for most households. The current price of a cylinder of gas in the state is Rs 1112. The leaders are fooling the people by saying that they stand for welfare programs even after backstabbing the common people.

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