Government owned Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) raised the price of petrol by Rs 6.28 per litre on May 23, 2012. After the inclusion of local taxes, this price hike amounts to an increase of Rs 7.54 per litre in Delhi. India met 76 per cent of its total petroleum requirement in 2011-12 through imports. Petrol prices have officially been decontrolled since June 2010. However, it has been argued by experts that prices of petroleum products have not been increased sufficiently in order to pass on cost increases to consumers. The inability to pass on international crude prices to consumers has affected OMCs more in recent months due to the depreciating rupee, which has further increased their losses. The total under recoveries faced by OMCs for diesel, PDS kerosene and domestic LPG for 2011-12 stands at Rs 138,541 crore. It was recently announced that the OMCs will receive Rs 38,500 crore from the Ministry of Finance to partially compensate for the high under recoveries. The prices of diesel, LPG and kerosene, which are responsible for the large under recoveries, are unchanged. Experts suggest that the price hike would have a limited impact on inflation, since petrol has a weightage of around 1 per cent on the Wholesale Price Index, whereas diesel has a weightage of around 4.7 per cent. The petrol price hike is unlikely to have an impact on the fiscal deficit, since petrol prices are technically deregulated. Reports suggest that a panel of ministers is due to meet on Friday to discuss diesel, kerosene and LPG prices. In a 2010 report, the Expert Group on "A Viable and Sustainable System of Pricing of Petroleum Products" (Kelkar Committee) observed that given India’s dependence on imports and rising oil prices, domestic prices of petroleum products must match international prices. It stated that price controls on diesel and petroleum in particular had resulted in major imbalances in consumption patterns across the country. This had also led to the exit of private sector oil marketing companies from the market, and affected domestic competition. Its recommendations included the following:
Reports suggest that a partial rollback of petrol prices might be considered soon.
Discussion on the first no-confidence motion of the 17th Lok Sabha began today. No-confidence motions and confidence motions are trust votes, used to test or demonstrate the support of Lok Sabha for the government in power. Article 75(3) of the Constitution states that the government is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. This means that the government must always enjoy the support of a majority of the members of Lok Sabha. Trust votes are used to examine this support. The government resigns if a majority of members support a no-confidence motion, or reject a confidence motion.
So far, 28 no-confidence motions (including the one being discussed today) and 11 confidence motions have been discussed. Over the years, the number of such motions has reduced. The mid-1960s and mid-1970s saw more no-confidence motions, whereas the 1990s saw more confidence motions.
Figure 1: Trust votes in Parliament
Note: *Term shorter than 5 years; **6-year term.
Source: Statistical Handbook 2021, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; PRS.
The no-confidence motion being discussed today was moved on July 26, 2023. A motion of no-confidence is moved with the support of at least 50 members. The Speaker has the discretion to allot time for discussion of the motion. The Rules of Procedure state that the motion must be discussed within 10 days of being introduced. This year, the no-confidence motion was discussed 13 calendar days after introduction. Since the introduction of the no-confidence motion on July 26, 12 Bills have been introduced and 18 Bills have been passed by Lok Sabha. In the past, on four occasions, the discussion on no-confidence motions began seven days after their introduction. On these occasions, Bills and other important issues were debated before the discussion on the no-confidence motion began.
Figure 2: Members rise in support of the motion of no-confidence in Lok Sabha