Vol. XLI No. 11 March 12, 2017

AIDWA Condemns Steep Hike in LPG Cylinder Prices

AIDWA strongly condemns the savage hike in the price of non subsidized cooking gas cylinders by Rs 86 per cylinder, brought into immediate effect by the BJP central government on March 1, 2017. This is historically the highest increase in the cost of unsubsidised gas cylinders in the country. The average Indian household, which has either given up the subsidy, or the eligible households which have exceeded their quota of 12 cylinders annually, will now have to pay Rs 737.50 for a single cylinder of gas, up from Rs 651.50 per cylinder as on February 28, 2017. The alarming increase is aggravated by the fact that it follows on the heels of a vicious Rs 66.50 per cylinder hike put into effect from February 1, 2017.
Women’s ability to keep the home fires burning and manage the household budget has come under severe strain as the fuel costs have gone up dramatically over the last six months.  A non subsidized LPG cylinder that cost Rs 466.50 in September has risen by Rs 271, a whopping 58 percent increase over 6 instalments.
This latest assault is part and parcel of the neo liberal economic policies of the BJP government which are fuelling inflation and squeezing the lives of the working class and middle class citizens of India. Demonetization has already played havoc with the lives and livelihood of the common people. Now, as part of the deregulated economy, it is said that every increase of oil prices in the international market is forcing the prices up over here as well. Oil firms have been hiking the 
prices on the least pretext. Their response to market volatility is indicated by the fact that they have increased their prices eight
times over the last one year! International prices of crude oil have been much lower in January and February 2017 compared to December 2016. Nor did the government announce any reduction in prices in July and August 2016 when crude oil prices were falling in the international market. So, 
there is hardly any correlation between the hikes in prices announced by the BJP government and price trends in international markets.  
The move to shift household kitchens from using firewood, coal, or even 
kerosene stoves to the LPG stove is being vitiated by the current Government policies which are driving up LPG costs to new heights. Since the universal subsidy scheme has been replaced by a targeted one, large number of families who are eligible for subsidized cylinders are now unable to obtain their entitlement. This steep hike 
will be extremely detrimental to the well being of vulnerable sections of society who fall outside the ambit of the protective subsidy cushion.
The inflationary spiral which has been set into motion by the Modi government cannot be tolerated any longer. AIDWA demands that
1       The BJP government should roll back this unprecedented hike in the price of 
LPG cylinders.
2      The government should provide relief to the mass of working class and middle class sections by reducing its own indirect tax rates which are also contributing to the inflationary spiral.  
3      The oil industry should be brought under regulation and the people should be safeguarded from the vagaries of the international markets.
4 The government should also 
immediately take back its unjust 
decision of deducting Rs 150 for cash withdrawals from banks if done more 
than three times in a month.   
AIDWA calls on its members to immediately protest in large numbers against this vicious hike in price of gas cylinders, both independently and along with other like minded organisations. This anti-women step of this government will be condemned in the March 8 International women’s day programmes all over the country.