The burden of oil subsidies

Updated: Mar 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Apropos your editorial ‘Not in my backyard’ (March 28). The present administered price mechanism for sale of kero-sene, LPG and other petroleum products is not only inefficient but anachronistic, too.
The government can subsidise consumption of certain items, but cannot ask private players, like Reliance Indust-ries, to bear the cost of such subsidies by forcing them to sell kerosene and LPG at below market prices. Such subsidies must be borne by the exchequer. You have rightly hinted that the farce of oil pricing through an informal arrangement with the oil companies must end, sooner than later.
RN Lakhotia

Bitter biscuits
ln 1996, the cost of biscuits went up to Rs 37.50 per kg. The increase in cost was merely 25 paise, that too after a decade’s gap. There-after, the cost of wheat and of sugar went up. Yet, the cost of the biscuits was not increased.
The proposed Vat on tobacco is 4%, but on biscuits it is 12.5%. Why impose Vat on items like biscuits, the common man’s necessity. lt is not a food item ‘enjoyed’ only by the elite. In fact, certain varieties of biscuits are recommended by doctors for children as well as the elderly because they are easily digestible, nourishing, and reasonably priced.
While cold drinks, ice-creams, etc are cheaper, Vat on biscuits is not justified.
Hansraj Bhat

Sacrifice
That politicians resign from a post when they are caught and claim it is a “sacrifice” has become a joke. This was evident by Sonia Gandhi’s resignation, too. Also, it would be worth compiling statistics on the assets of politicians.
BS Ganesh