While dedicating the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery to the nation in Bathinda, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rightly said that it is highly required to make the prices of petroleum products rational, but it is also a fact that this has to be done by the Prime Minister himself and while doing so he needs to be careful about protecting the common man from the negative impacts of the proposed exercise. It is really a tough job from all points of views. It becomes even more difficult when a government intends to carry forward its populist agenda. This is quite evident for past sometime. On several occasions in past, it has been observed that the government didn’t hike the prices of petroleum products due to assembly elections in some states but excuses were made that the decision to raise the prices were to be taken by the oil companies which are entitled to do so. It is a fact that even in the adverse circumstances, the companies are not being allowed to do so which is quite evident from the fact that they are craving for hiking the prices, but they are still not getting the permission of the government. Prime Minister’s statement in Bathinda reflects that the prices of petroleum products could go up very soon, but at the same time it seems that the decision to hike the prices will hardly be rational. It is so because economic norms with regard to the petroleum products have always been flouted. It is hard to understand that when the prices of crude oil is soaring up in the international market and India has to import 80 percent of the total oil which it needed, then what is the logic behind imposing various kinds of taxes and duties on it. Why the Central Government and other state governments are not ready to take a lesson from the recent decision of the Goa government in this matter? Does it bear any sense to make an imported stuff costlier which is already costly and then you talk about the need to make the prices of the stuff logical?

The problem is not that the government is shying away from pursuing a right policy in case of petroleum products but, the similar thing is evident in many other cases. For the past sometime, the dispensation at the Centre is in news because of its failure to take a right decision. Nowadays, the government’s ‘policy paralysis’ has become a buzz word. Recently, on the occasion of the inauguration of Bathinda Refinary, renowned businessman Lakshmi Niwas Mittal didn’t show any hitch in admitting that the decision making process in India is too slow. It is doubtful that government will sincerely act to embark on fast decision making process. This apprehension is based on the fact that in a bid to protect its political ground, the government is carrying forward the same policies which are actually just noting but a part of its populist agenda. If it continues to take decisions considering its political gains and losses then it is hardly possible that whatever the Prime Minister has said will be practised. It is earnestly required that economic reforms should be carried forward without any dely.