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Ending the mother of all corruption

Ever since the Second World War, kerosene has been a controlled commodity and ever since Independence has been subsidised. During the last nine years, subsidies given to sell kerosene were Rs. 204,000 crore. Not only about 40 per cent of that has been diverted to enrich mostly the politically connected kerosene dealers but also to adulterate other petroleum products like diesel and petrol. This has resulted in black money generation of Rs 25,000 to Rs.30,000 crore annually. One need not be a genius to figure out the major beneficiaries of this largesse.

It is not that the poor who depend on kerosene will not be helped. Instead of PDS kerosene, they will be given subsidy through bank transfer to buy the needed quantity. It has been found that those who have access to electricity do not need kerosene; also only about two per cent use kerosene for cooking in rural areas while most use LPG in urban and semi-urban areas. It is for this reason the government finally took courage to end distributing kerosene through PDS.

Except for Tamil Nadu, no other state has protested the revolutionary policy of the Modi government to end PDS kerosene. Tamil Nadu is a state where because of extensive electrification and use of LPG for cooking, the real need for kerosene is not huge. Having realised this, the Central government has been reducing kerosene supply to the state.

Unless the public are educated on the benefits of scrapping kerosene subsidy, I will not be surprised that even with its majority, the Modi government may be forced to drop this revolutionary idea.

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