The Kerala government, however, showed the way forward by sacrificing one rupee a litre.
Rising oil prices are proving embarrassing for the ruling party. Fuel prices at pumps is now totally deregulated, and the ups and downs aren’t in the government’s control. The only problem is that the government, greedy for funds, tapped into oil when global prices were down for a few years before the oil cartel began cutting output to raise prices again. The common man may have little knowledge of global oil production’s intricacies, but one thing he understands is the price paid at the pump. The government, that should be sensitive to citizens’ concerns, appears to have become arrogant, which shows in the way it has handled the entire issue.
The PR disaster was at its comic worst on Wednesday as Indian Oil announced prices from a wrong date on its website, suggesting a 60-paise drop per litre. But instead of apologising for the error and leaving pump prices unaltered for a day, the oil firms made it considerably worse by adjusting prices to a one-paisa drop per litre. This was adding insult to injury, rubbing salt into the aam aadmi’s wounds from prices rising 16 days in a row before the one-paisa relief joke. The Kerala government, however, showed the way forward by sacrificing one rupee a litre. If the Centre and other states follow suit, there might be some relief for an overtaxed populace that pays the highest fuel prices in South Asia.
The silver lining is, as US President Donald Trump hinted in a tweet, that Saudi Arabia has agreed to hike production soon while Russia needs its oil money too. Prices fell by a few paise a day after the one-paisa comedy.