The sharp fall in the value of the rupee has had one devastating effect on the economy and the common man’s ability to keep any control on the family budget. It is the sharp rise in the cost of fuel. Petrol prices have gone beyond Rs 83 per litre and even beyond Rs 85 in certain cities. There have been corresponding increases in the prices of diesel and LPG or cooking gas as well. The impact on the prices of other essential commodities has not been so severe yet, but it is only a matter of time before prices of other essential commodities also shoot up beyond the reach of common people. The government cannot be permitted to remain a silent spectator of what is happening as though it is in no way responsible for the all-round inflation that is just around the corner. One of the reasons why the rupee has lost some of its value is the uncontrolled waste in government departments. This, coupled with the colossal spending that is about to take place for the general election of 2019, is bound to push up prices further. And since increased fuel prices have an impact on almost all other commodities, it is imperative for the government to implement urgent measures to control inflation. What eludes the understanding of most people is how neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar have managed to keep petrol and diesel prices much lower than what prices are in India. One also fails to understand how petrol which cost only about 77 paise per litre even in the early 1970s has become more than a hundred times costlier than what it was in 1971. The government must take immediate steps to bring down prices of fossil fuels to levels that remain affordable to common people. If our neighbouring countries can do it, there is no reason India should be unable to do better.
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