Dilip Lamba, who owns a transport company in Jodhpur in western India, has had more than three-quarters of his fleet of 50 trucks idling for months. Dharampal Nambardar, a farmer who grows wheat and mustard seed in Haryana state, is worried he might not make any profit this year.
The main source of their anxiety is not Covid-19, however, but rather a surge in fuel prices. The central government has hiked import and excise taxes twice this year even as it imposed the world’s biggest coronavirus lockdown. Retail prices for diesel -- the lifeblood of India’s economy -- in the capital New Delhi have jumped 30% since the end of April, while gasoline has risen 16%.