Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today asked the Government of India to subsidize diesel consumption by public road transport systems and the Railways.
Commenting on the deregulation of petrol prices and a hike in diesel, kerosene and LPG prices, Dr. JP said that the public road transport systems consumed about 500 crore liters and the Railways about 250 crore liters of diesel a year. If the Government extended a subsidy of say Rs.10 per liter consumed by these two major transport systems, the burden on the exchequer would not exceed Rs.7500 crore, hardly 10 percent of the Rs, 74000 crore subsidy the Government is extending as of now.
Pointing out that the Government subsidy policy has been ad hoc, arbitrary and irrational, Dr. JP suggested provision of fixed subsidy on both kerosene and LPG. The Government could bring down kerosene consumption and the subsidy burden on it by supplying solar paneled LED lamps to the poor. It could promote mass transport by buses with excise duty relief.
He wanted the Government to promote public transport by extending diesel subsidy and by undertaking capital works in urban areas. Such a policy will minimize the burden on the common person and contribute to economic growth. The Government should realize that people go in for their own vehicles because the public transport system in India is in a shambles.
Dr. JP is communicating his ideas to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Oil and Gas Minister, and the Planning Commission.