Another day, another difficult decision—or is it really? The government has announced an increase in the prices of petroleum products by up to Rs. 20 per litre. Like the increases in electricity unit prices, they will no doubt claim that it was a difficult decision due to the associated depletion of political capital.
However, in my opinion, this is the easiest decision for a sitting government to make, as it allows them to pass on the effects of price fluctuations. You know what a difficult decision is? Leveraging your position with Russia to buy cheap oil or extracting concessions from the United States to compensate for the opportunity cost A difficult decision is whether to issue new licences for indigenous exploration blocks or negotiate with the United States to allow the import of oil from Iran, citing India’s precedence.
Another difficult decision is shoring up storage reserves and cracking down on hoarding by OMCs (Oil Marketing Companies). Jacking up the price? That’s not a tough decision at all, and it’s certainly not in the “interest of this nation,” as the honourable finance minister would have you believe. It is the path of least resistance for the government due to a general lack of activism on the public’s part and the prevalent suffocating environment.