S KAMAT, ALTO ST CRUZ
THE common man has been at the receiving end of spiraling fuel prices. LPG prices have also been on the rise. When asked about the rising prices, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the central government has got nothing to do with it. When the common man turns to the government with grievances he meets with utter unconcerned and callous response. Sitharaman is passing the buck to oil marketing companies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the other hand, blames the past governments for the present hikes in petro prices. He maintains that the past governments did not take action to reduce dependence on imported oil. If you point out that his government has been in power for the last seven years, asking him as what action his government has taken to mitigate the situation, Modi will probably blame the British Raj. The fact of the matter is that Modi has done nothing and will do nothing. The only thing he knows to do is to put the common man of this country to needless troubles, which have been brought about in the forms of new agriculture laws, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, demonetisation of certain banknotes and sloppy implementation of GST. All these measures have jeopardised the interest of the aam aadmi. Oil or petroleum fuels and byproducts thereof like LPG remain the highly-taxed commodities in India: they attract cascading taxes like central excise, state sales taxes, octroi and municipal taxes in certain parts of the country. The Union Finance Minister and the Prime Minister could have lent a sympathetic ear to the fuel price woes and could have reduced the taxes it imposes. The Centre could have asked the states to cut their taxes. But simple and prudent measures are beyond its imagination. It appears that the Modi government thrives by creating more and more problems for the common man, exulting in their miseries. The central government does it in the name of reforms and development. Such are the mindless brains who are at the helm of affairs of our country now.