Tag: Government of India

Fuel Price Hike

On 25/6/2010 the government of India increased prices of petrol by Rs.3.50, diesel by Rs.2/- kerosene by Rs.3/- per litre and LPG by Rs.35/-per cylinder. Petrol and diesel prices were decontrolled.

The increase has come at a time when food price inflation is about 18%.

The increase was avoidable. For the week ended 18/6/2010 foreign exchange reserves increased by $3 billion. If the government had not increased foreign exchange reserves the dollar value would have gone down making oil import cost less and there would have been no need for price increase.

Now also the price increase can be reversed if the government sells $3 billion. That will increase the value of rupee against dollar. Whenever the price of oil goes up government can sell dollars and rupee appreciates and there is no need of price rice. India has enough foreign exchange reserves.

Oil is a finite commodity. We have to use solar and wind power. Oil prices are likely to go up and any accident like that of BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico will have far reaching consequences.

The government does not have to run oil marketing companies. Some years ago there was an attempt to privatise them. Vested interests opposed that.

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Salaries of MPs

MPs want increase in salaries. A committee of MPs has recommended that salaries of MPs should be on par with that of Secretaries of Government of India.

For secretaries the salary is Rs.80,000/- p.m. It is not known what allowances and perks they get apart from salary.

For MPs the salary is Rs.16,000/- p.m. They get a constituency allowance of Rs.20,000/- p.m., daily allowance of Rs.1,000/- when Parliament is in session, free accommodation, phones, water, power, healthcare, railway travel and 34 free single air journey tickets.

MPs have other privileges like recommending two seats in Kendriya Vidyalayas.

One reason given for demand in increase is that MPs rank 21 in the table of precedence and secretaries 23 and therefore salaries of MPs should be more than of secretaries.

All MPs are happy at the prospect of the increase in salaries.

MPs should ask themselves whether they are doing their duties. Parliament disruptions are frequent and many times there are adjournments.

Table of precedence should not have been a consideration in deciding salaries. Since MPs want it that way salaries of MPs should not go up but of secretaries should come down. Before that something should be done about allowances and benefits.

Allowances of MPs should be abolished. Constituency allowance of Rs.20,000/- p.m. should be added to the salary. That makes it Rs.36,000/- p.m.

Daily allowance of Rs.1,000/- when Parliament is in session should be abolished. Instead of that Rs.10,000/- p.m. should be added to the salary. That makes it Rs.46,000/- p.m.

Free accommodation, water, power, healthcare and 34 free single air journey tickets should be abolished. Instead of that Rs.46,000/- should be added to the salary. That makes it Rs.86,000/- p.m.

Now MPs should be happy. They are getting more than secretaries.

MPLADS should be abolished. It began Rs.5,00,00/- p.a. per MP. Now it is Rs.2,00,00,000/- and MPs want it to go up to Rs.10,00,00,000/-.

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Nagaland and sovereignty

NSCN-IM general secretary Thiungaleng Muivah is in Delhi for talks with the Government of India. There is demand for Nagalim or Greater Nagaland and sovereignty for Greater Nagaland. It is unlikely that both demands will be granted.
A cease fire is in place between NSCN-IM and India since 1997. There is an elected government in Nagaland.
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur will oppose their territory being given to Nagaland. There is talk of a council for Nagas in those states.
Article 371A of the constitution of India has special provision for Nagaland.
When India became independent many Nagas wanted to separate and had taken up arms. To meet many of their demands Nagaland was separated from Assam. Many Nagas continued their fight. The ceasefire agreement in 1997 brought peace but the demand for sovereignty did not go away.
India’s constitution has no provision for allowing states to secede. Nagas who want sovereignty are not powerful enough force separation from India.
Agreeing to sovereignty for Nagaland will lead to demand for sovereignty from many other states. Mizos wanted separation for many years and gave up their claim in 1987. In Kashmir there are people who want to join Pakistan or become a separate country. Even states where there had been no problem will demand sovereignty.
NSCN-IM is not the only group that represents Nagas. All groups that claim to represent Nagas should be asked to contest elections in Nagaland and show they have popular base.
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