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Jio Vs Oil: Internet or Petrol? Who decides what we need?

Internet is not a villain of petrol and neither such a juxtaposition is the intention of this article. It happens so that the day Mr. Ambani offers Reliance Jio, his pet project that offers low cost internet and free voice calling to India is also the day when petrol and diesel prices are hiked by Rs. 3.38 and Rs. 2.67 respectively. Does this mean these 3 and 2 rupees we are paying extra is fetching us a cheap mobile phone service? No, the contribution is much more and is running in to amounts that we couldn’t even comprehend.

Let’s rewind few months back to the start of this year. 2015 Quarter 3 results were out on January and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) which operates the world’s biggest oil-refinery complex reported a record profit of 39%. Did RIL discover a new type of petrol, something like a low cost petrol to make 7290 crore rupees in those three months? No, the crude oil price that was $106 per barrel in the International market in July 2014, fell down to 26$ in January 2016. It was a 75% drop over a period of 15 months. So if the petrol prices was appropriately slashed, we would have ended up paying 28 to 32 rupees per litre of petrol as against 60 to 70 rupees. The prices weren’t slashed and so we ended up filling Mr. Ambani’s pockets directly. During the same quarter, Mr. Ambani along with other promoters of Reliance Jio announced that they would infuse another 15,000 crore rupees in to Reliance Jio. The next two quarters, ie. 2015-Q4 and 2016-Q1 of RIL saw a steady profit consolidation of Rs.7398 crores and Rs. 7113 crores respectively.

Fuel prices control price inflation. If there is a sharp decrease in petrol/diesel price, it has a cascading effect on prices of other essential commodities. For instance, the transportation cost of vegetables from whole sale dealer to retail seller gets lower and so the vegetable and other food prices get lowered. The occupation carried out by a major portion of the middle class and lower class sections of the country has both direct and indirect dependence on Petrol/Diesel prices. So lower fuel prices results in lower food and transportation costs thus resulting in better livelihood for overwhelming mass of people, which can righteously be termed as better growth of the country.

The profit made by Mr. Ambani especially via Petrol/Diesel and other ventures has allowed him to launch his flagship pet project of low cost mobile service, Reliance Jio amidst cheers and surprises. Neither the sky rocketing profits via Oil business nor the ultra-cheap Reliance Jio is because of Mr. Ambani’s special brains. Neither did Indians come out to the roads and ask for a cheap mobile service especially at the cost of Petrol. Rather Mr. Ambani decided what was best for his business empire, despite his company having a net debt of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore and remaining one of the most indebted company in India. Before we end this article and just for the sake reminding, there is actually an elected government which is being imagined to be the representative of her people and their wishes.

– M.Sathiesh,

Young Tamil Nadu Movement

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