Catalysing safe design for public spaces should be among the top priorities to make cities safe for women, children and the elderly
I first let this pass without comment—the Rs 1,000 crore Nirbhaya fund for women’s safety proposed in the Union Bdget. Many have glossed over this with a reverent salute to quickly move on to the hard numbers of this stark accounting document. Others are angry, outraged, and dismissive of this fund as tokenism and populism with no clarity of mandate. But I read that paragraph in the budget speech once again.
'Not raising diesel prices would harm economy much more'
The government has finally taken the bold step to hike diesel prices as well as limit subsidy on cooking gas. This is the highest ever diesel price hike that makes the fuel dearer by Rs 5 without value added tax. At the same time, the subsidy burden of cooking gas has been cut by limiting the number of subsidised gas cylinders to six a year per consumer.
With generous dispensing of cheap diesel to rich car owners, the government has finally turned the market around. Media is abuzz with the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell’s report. It says the diesel consumption growth rate at 6.4 per cent has outstripped that of petrol at 4.5 per cent. Petrol price hikes have made the fuel price gap gape wider and add to diesel’s lure.