On the Anvil


Thursday, June 5, 2008

IPL - A Different Avathar

Tighten your belts!!!

This is the sentiment dominating our mind space. The message clogging the television spots. The news that is gaining reluctant admissions. The phrase, once the preserve of devout Keyne bhaktas, has come to be added to the common man's conversations, the layman's lingo. Much as the word 'tsunami' was virtually unheard off until that tragic December 26th noon of 2004. And it comes to announce the advent of the IPL's new attire. Gone IPL for Indian Premier League. Gone the math about cricket run-rates. Something is running faster. Much faster than it can be chased. The factor 'stoking' the new run-rate, that's 'fuelling' this new IPL avathar is well........fuel prices.Its IPL or Indian PRICE league.

Imagine this. Gas prices in the not so back 1982, in India, hovered just about the half-century mark. Today, its added 300 rupees of bludgeon units. Thats a quantum percentage jump for even the pretty well settled people of the society, the 'have-lots'. You are hereby granted a free, open license to what that implies to the less economically empowered 'haves' and 'have-nots'. First, we had inflation ensuring that the food grain prices or shall we put, 'uncooked food' prices
aim for the stars. And now, cooking itself has become that much costlier. So lets check out the recipe for this draconian situation. While the Government cannot be blamed solely and squarely for either the food or fuel price spurts, as these are caused by factors, not all of which are under its control. Still the public pulse opines the steps to tackle this crisis could have been planned better. Here's why.

First, the 'sudden' announcement.
While the common man is enough knowledgeable to discern, albeit to a reasonable extent, what's coming; the general feeling is that the announcement has been a 'premature delivery'. That is, it came earlier than expected or arrived without escort.

Next, the extent of hike was a surprise too.
50 rupees jump on cooking gas is nothing short of unprepared damnation to sections of the society who are laboring on the fringes. Its not an unknown fact that in most Indian middle and lower-middle class households, the lady or the house-wife happens to also be the finance minister. She does the math and is a old-hand in planning expenditures for the coming months. Nothing would have prepared her for this - a fifty rupee jump of cooking gas. While income is generally a one-time guest who 'cheques'-in at the start of every month and is a constant figure, expenses sadly refuse to be constants. They are variables and have a notorious penchant for ambushing those who seek to rein them in. Given their 'non-cooperative' nature, the government move has only aided them in setting up a more effective ambush and this time the usually resilient Indian house-wife will be pushed to the edge.

So what is the way out of this unavoidable crisis?

Like they said - " there's only one rail to heaven and it passes right through the unavoidable station we are quite familiar - hell."
We need to tighten our belts

From the government point of view, they can possibly have 'look-ins' at inserting a 'fuel-cess' component in the income- tax structure. But care needs to be taken to make it progressive and the reality of income group or earning levels factored in. This will help spread the brunt, hopefully, on a 'can-pay' basis and usher equity in remedial measures. Another option could be issue of oil bonds, though their efficacy in the long run could be questioned. Yet another solution could be keeping a tab on the 'vehicle on the roads'. Though this could be considered drastic, on a personal front, a little bit of legislative guidance, I believe, will help catalyze relief measures.

But as always, the end is where the end is - us, the people.
We gotta be more judicious in our use of these resources in even the little things. Lets take a drive on the route of crude math.Thankfully, this drive will not gulp precious fuel.Consider this, if each of us Indians, saved a drop of oil a day, we would have saved a million gallons for the day. That would at least amount to a million barrels a month. Now, how we save that oil drop or that precious ounce of gas is up to us. Maybe we can turn off our stoves, as soon as we are done with our cooking and not let the flame linger longer. Maybe we can turn off our vehicle ignition and join our colleague in his vehicle for a morning chat if we are heading for the same destination by pooling vehicles. As always, the onus is on us. So here's the mantra to tighten our belts:
Honor the onus. Covet the Bonus.

And, if you are yawning with all this homily, here's a gentle reminder:
Whats the bonus here we are talking about?
Our future. Simple survival.
Hope, you are convinced. So,save that drop of oil. The ounce of gas.
Go on, tighten the belt.

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