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Uncertain Times

We are living in very uncertain times when one does not know if one can step out of one’s home. The second wave of COVID-19 has hit the economy once again when it was just about limping back to a semblance of normality. The automobile industry is a soft target which gets highly taxed, but, at the same time, it is this industry that rose to the challenge during the first wave by manufacturing ventilators and now, during the second wave when there was an alarming shortage of oxygen, stepped in to supply oxygen. At the same time, it does not get any respite in terms of lowering the GST rate or removing some of the cesses.

While the finance minister talks about stimulus packages to boost the economy wherein people have taken a cut in salary or lost their jobs altogether, the cost of diesel has gone up to Rs 96 per litre and that of petrol to a whopping Rs 104 per litre. The Excise Duty on diesel has gone up from Rs 3.56 to Rs 31.80 and that on petrol from Rs 9.48 to Rs 32.90. This increase has fuelled inflation and the cost of all essential commodities has gone up. Needless to say, the price of new cars has also gone up. Ironically, the only thing that has gone down is people’s income.

Today everybody is talking about electric vehicles (EV), but they must remember that once we all make a shift to EV, the cost of electricity will go up and that will have a big effect on our domestic power bill, whether we use an electric car or a two-wheeler. We must have renewable energy to reduce emission. It makes no sense to burn coal to generate electricity: effectively it means we just move the source of pollution from one place to another.

EDITOR – ASPI BHATHENA

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