CHENNAI: The Centre’s reported move to end LPG subsidy by next March evoked strong reaction from opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, which sought an immediate reversal of the decision.
Terming it “manipulative tactics”, DMK working president MK Stalin pointed to the irony of the BJP government’s advertisement that giving away gas cylinders was akin to empowering women. The Centre had also given a free hand to oil corporations to raise LPG price, Stalin said in a statement.
“The underlying ethos of this government which guides their policy decisions point to levying taxes from citizens for every service that government provides. Their attitude towards subsidies, which are intended to serve people, is also worrying,” he said.
PMK founder S Ramadoss said that LPG prices have gone up by Rs 40 in the last two months alone. “In the 38 months after Narendra Modi took charge as Prime Minister, petrol and diesel prices had gone up by 153 per cent in the country, while it was only 6.3 per cent in countries such as USA and China,” he said in a statement.
The subsidy for LPG, which amounts to Rs 22,000 crore a year, was only 9.5% of the tax on petroleum products (Rs 2.3 lakh crore) that the Centre gets, Ramadoss said. He charged the BJP government with discontinuing subsidies worth Rs 3 lakh crore in the last three years. However, none of the revenue saved seemed to be directed towards the welfare of the poor, he said.
This decision was the latest in a slew of ‘anti-people’ measures rolled out by the Modi Government, charged MDMK general secretary Vaiko, noting how attempts were on to phase out the universal PDS.
Saying that the move would hit ordinary people and the salaried class, CPI state secretary R Mutharasan said the ruling AIADMK was betraying the people by showing no resistance to the Centre’s ‘anti-people’ measures.
Manithaneya Makkal Katchi president MH Jawahirulla accused the Modi government of accepting the suggestions of WTO and the World Bank and launching the two-pronged attack of eliminating the subsidy and restricting benefits of PDS, on the economically backward and financial classes.
State Congress president S. Thirunavukkarasar also joined the attack urging all democratic forces to unite against the move. He demanded immediate rollback of the order.