Why Are Prices of Diesel and Petrol not Decreasing, when Crude -Oil prices are falling drastically?

On June 8th, India prepared to lift the lockdown imposed on its citizens due to the Coronavirus.

Around this time, Oil companies controlled by Union Government started hiking both petrol and diesel prices. From June 7th, fuel prices were hiked consecutively for 22 days.

In Delhi, the price of petrol was increased by 13%, and the price of diesel was increased by 16%, – during this period alone.

Fuel prices were hiked to such extent that in some states diesel was costlier than petrol since each state in India has different fuel prices (state-specific taxes).

The peculiar thing about this price hike was that even though Crude Oil prices fell drastically from $71 per barrel at the beginning of Financial year 2019-’20, to $39.89 as of June 2020, a price drop of more than 42%.

Falling Crude Oil prices, theoretically speaking, should be beneficial for the public as it should mean a decrease in fuel prices. But in practice, consumers rarely get these benefits.

According to The Scroll, “The Indian crude basket is an index consisting of different crude grades according to which – in theory – retail price of petrol and diesel is supposed to be benchmarked. In practice, however, this benchmarking only works if crude prices are going up.”

A perfect example would be recent fuel price hikes in our nation.

But what was the reason behind this immediate hike?

In April the price of Indian basket of Crude Oil went below $20 per barrel. But since then the price of oil has risen. It averaged around $30 per barrel in May, and on June 28th it stood at $40.83.

So, the price of Crude oil has almost doubled, as lockdown is eased and International demand for Crude has picked pace.

But this is not the sole reason for the hike. The other reason would be taxes.

The excise duty on Petrol and Diesel was hiked by the Union government by a record Rs.10 per litre and Rs.13 per litre respectively, in the month of May.

Meanwhile, 13 states announced an increase in their fuel taxes.

Governments use this pattern of excessive taxation to provide themselves a steady profit.

This absurd system of taxation makes survival difficult for the public. For example, In Delhi, Central excise and State VAT (Value Added Tax) makes up for two-thirds of what a person pays at the petrol pump.

Basically, the entire fall in oil price has been captured by the Union Government without passing the benefits to the consumers. As a result, India has one of the highest tax rates on fuel, as compared to other countries.

But why is the government so keen on taxation of fuel?

This is because of the sharp fall in the revenues collected from GST (Goods and Services Tax) which has been a blow to both the states and the Union Government. Revenues collected from GST are 41% lower in the first quarter of 2020-’21, as compared to the same period of the previous year.

In 2017-’18, the gross tax revenue collected by the government rose from 9.98% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to 11.22%. The main reason for this increase was a hike in taxes on petrol and diesel, by the government (primarily excise duty).

The money earned through taxes imposed on fuel stood at ₹46,386 crores in the financial year 2013-’14.

In 2017-’18, this leaped to ₹2,23,922 crore.

Even though the COVID19 forced the government to increase the excise duties on petrol and diesel to some extent, the gross-tax revenue had still fallen to 9.88% of the GDP, in the financial year 2019-’20, owing to the ill-implemented GST and the aftermath of demonetization. Hence, even if India wasn’t hit by COVID19, the government would still have had increased the excise duty on diesel and petrol, though not so drastically.

Earlier in January, Former Finance Secretary, Subhas Chandra Garg, pointed out that India might miss tax collection target for financial year 2019-’20 by nearly Rs. 2.5 lakh crore.

Drawing attention to the “grim” situation of underlying tax revenue situation, he further said, that it is the right time to initiate much-needed reforms in the taxation structure.

                            – Aanandita Singh

CHINESE APP BANS

                                            

List of Chinese apps banned

On 29th June 2020, the Indian government issued a ban on 59 Chinese Apps including, TikTok, WeChat, Xender, ShareIt, LIKEE, Helo, and CamScanner among others.

This ban has been implemented after a deadly clash between the militaries of both the countries that left twenty Indian soldiers dead. Satellite images also show that China has built new structures near the border region.

 The Ministry Of Information And Technology, has stated that, “ it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps… for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.. Since this ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures”

But it raises concerns beyond stealing of Users’ data. If Users’ data being safe was the only concern then why didn’t they ban the Zoom App – An app founded by Chinese-American billionaire, Eric Yuan. Despite being accused of stealing data and various privacy concerns, numerous times, all the app has been given are mere warnings. An Article on News18, says that since Zoom is an American company, located in California, it wasn’t banned.

But doesn’t it go against the statements given by the Ministry Of Information and Technology, which basically said, that they banned the apps because users’ data was being ‘misused’ ?

It proves that the ‘ban’ was supposed to be a “fitting” reply to China, as border tensions escalated, and wasn’t just a security concern.

Which brings us to two questions :

  1. Was India in a position to Ban Chinese Apps?

Most of the apps banned were highly popular in India. Topping the list was TikTok with over 100 million users just in India.

While many “TikTok stars” used the app to earn a living, there were several others who just liked having access to make content.

What made TikTok connect to its users was the fact that how easy it was to handle and to make content, which is why people who couldn’t create content on other platforms like YouTube because of the complications and the investments, could easily create content here.

TikTok really seemed to connect with the Indian Youth because many still are accessing it via VPNs.

While companies like Panda VPN are even advertising the fact that you can access all the banned apps via using them.

Many teens are trying to make apps to access TikTok without VPNs and they are very confidently posting their videos on social media.

The fact that people can still access these apps through VPNs while Chinese investors continue to profit off our people, shows how this ban was nothing more than ”a symbolic ban’.

The ban wouldn’t harm the Chinese as much as it will harm us.

Most of these apps had Indian Creators for whom this was their only source of income. Not to mention, many of these apps have offices and employees in India, whose jobs are at stake.

With the rising unemployment, and the falling GDP,  was it really necessary to put thousands of jobs and lives at risk, in the middle of a pandemic? Was symbolism really this important?

2. Is banning Chinese Apps enough ?

      “Tokenism does not change stereotypes of social systems but works to preserve them, since it dulls the revolutionary impulse.”

                                     – Mary Daly

A week ago, we were furious at our government, for the border situation with both China, and Nepal.

And for once, we expected the Modi government to do something. Because isn’t that what they have been flexing about all those years, with the Balakot Airstrike, or the Surgical Strike? A nation with Strong Military strength?

Instead, we were deceived by various media houses, and our government, who mentioned for weeks that there are no border tensions between India and China.

Instead, we were met with disappointment, as the Prime Minister himself turned his back on us, when he released a public statement saying that there has been “no Chinese intrusion” into our territory. That statement was used by the Chinese Government to shake off any responsibility about the death of twenty Indian soldiers.

Soon after receiving heavy backlash, the government released a statement that practically said “The Prime Minister didn’t mean what you thought he meant”. The video which was available on YouTube was of course edited, and the part where Mr. Modi said how there were no Chinese Intrusions was removed. Channels like AajTak, blamed the army, instead of the government.

I wish it stopped here, but it didn’t. Our government said almost 43 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured, to satisfy India’s collective blood-thirst, when no such number was revealed or verified from the other side. Which makes me wonder if soldiers are just numbers for this country?

Like in a game of Chess, you just count the number of pieces you killed of your opponent. And if it’s more than the number of pieces he killed, then you’re satisfied.

I wonder if our soldiers are nothing more than Chess Pieces to us.

I wonder if their death will ever mean something more than ‘revenge’.

 The government also said that no Indian Soldiers were captured.

The next day though, China released 10 of our soldiers.

 I wonder how the government would have explained the disappearances of these ten soldiers to their families had they not been released by the Chinese Government.

How do we trust a government that has deceived us at every given turn? How do we trust a government that takes the Army’s credit after a Surgical Strike to increase their polling numbers, but blames the Army for their failures?

And after all this, they decided to temporarily ban some Chinese apps.

I wonder why AliBaba wasn’t banned, or PUBG which is backed by Tencent?

As you might already have guessed, AliBaba is one of the biggest investors in the Indian market, and so is Tencent.

The act of banning Chinese Apps was nothing more than Tokenism. But look how well it has worked, no one is blaming the government for literally anything anymore. Not the diesel-petrol price hike. Not even the lack of response to China.

At the end of the day, you just have to ask yourself this, “has this all happened before”?

Have the bans happened before? In a different or similar context? With a different or same nation?

And if your answer is yes, I have a question for you. “When has it changed anything but our opinions?”

                                                                                                                                                  –  Aanandita Singh

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What is Young Indian Revolution?

Do you watch news or read newspapers? Everybody does that to get aware about things happening in and outside the country. But, what’s the use of that awareness? What are you doing except of being aware about the situations in the country?

Every day there is something in news like a Government servant caught in corruption scandals, police brutality on general public, Politicians doing scams, education system taking lives of children, robbery, human trafficking, money laundering, drug abuse, rapes and the list of crimes is never-ending. The Laws have changed! The Law makers have changed! Several institutions made to tackle all this but didn’t made much effect. The crimes are same since independence. The general public is still facing the issue of poverty, lack of services, illiteracy and the ruling attitude of so called public servants. What is the 97% of the population doing except of being aware about all this?

The machinery of system has caught rust in 70 years. The moisture of crime has weakened its engine. The condition is deteriorating. The structure can fail and fall anytime. There’s a strong voice for a polished paint of reforms and an oil of change that can ensure its smooth function for a longer period of time. But why are we telling you all this? How is Young Indian Revolution related to it? We are 100 percent related to it. We have got three things that a revolution requires. We have the paint and the oil required for the smooth functioning of the system. What are they and how they fulfil the requirement?

The Anarchist Club

Everyone has their own solutions to the problems happening in the country. But there are people who have the optimum solution of a problem happening. Which can cure the problem in a good manner. But where are those people?  Probably sitting at their homes thinking how they can tell or suggest this to anyone who will work practically for the solution. It might be you too! Our club is made for the people who want to work towards the change by suggesting the solution and even working practically on it. We will organize the club in a way so that every member can share the resources provided in the form of suggestions and practical solutions. The voice of our club members is the paint which will give the system a new look towards a renewed and effective approach. We will help the club members in raising a strong voice towards change through several resources provided by us. One of them is The YIR Magazine. What is it?

The YIR Magazine

The magazine is part of our journal which will talk about things happening in the society. What’s new in it? Every other newspaper or magazine does that. Actually the YIR magazine will not just talk about problems but it is the oil of change! How? It will talk about the solutions. It will talk about the issues which require change and how they can be changed. The solutions are going to be the advice’s of our club members and general public. The content is going to be written by our young content writers with facts checked. With this we are going to raise a strong voice fulfilling the requirement of oil for change and longer smooth functioning. The youth is the future and we are going to reach them through our notebooks.

The YIR Notebooks

A notebook is something a school or college student spends most of their time. They are always keen about the facts on the last page of notebook. Instead of the facts which are more of a joke we are going to provide eye opening and mind changing facts in our notebooks which will enable them to know more about us and connect to us. But why do we want to connect to them? The educated youth have always challenged the taboos, myths and injustice happening in the society. With their modern thinking and innovative approach towards problems they have the ability to change a larger section of the society. But for that they require a proper backup. We with our club and magazines are the backup. With our notebooks they will know more about us and will tend to reach us. And just like you they will be also reading this article and thinking to join hands with us.

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The Young Indian Revolution(YIR) Team