Price hike in essential commodities has been a norm in our country. The pattern is very frequent, for instance, the petrol prices have been hiked ten times in the last 6 years. The hikes have become a nightmare for the “aam aadmi”. The ever increasing cost of living has once again proven the age old theory of Survival of the Fittest.
Interestingly, we discover an array of exciting facts when we dig in the depths of the issue. It is quite a common phenomenon that when the prices get hiked, substantial control measures have to be employed to check it. Paradoxically, government has seldom made efforts to curb it as it considers hike a part of the game. Recently in the President’s address, it was quoted that “higher prices were inevitable”. Rather, it was made inevitable. Hike is a nice and easy tool for the govt. to fill in the gaps of revenue. Whenever, the govt. is in any kind of trouble, it makes us bare the burden.
Petrol price hike is an epitome to show govt.’s incapability or lack of accountability. Though, the international fuel prices have fallen sharply by almost 100% in 2009, the Indian govt. shows no signs of reducing the price in the domestic market. Petrol, diesel and other petroleum products have an enormous impact on almost all the other commodity prices.
Black markets also contribute massively to hike. Sugar prices prove to be a fitting example. The recent price rise of sugar seems to be in a rat race with its sweetness. The profits of 33 sugar companies have rocketed by 2900% to 900 crores, along with a gigantic increase in the sugar prices. The reason being crop shortage which was in turn created due to uncontrolled exports last year. We could have built buffer stocks, when we had the bumper crop, but we didn’t. This facilitated a raise in profits of all the export and import companies, while consumers were forced to pay much more than what they need to pay for sugar.
The strategic failure of agricultural departments, which failed to create proper awareness among the farmers regarding selection of crops, which eventually lead to price rise of pulses, cereals and vegetables drastically.
Standard of living of common man has been taken to the limit. In 2009, 13.6million people freshly joined the list of BPL in our country, according to a report by U.N Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The hikes have made the lives of people miserable, forcing them to cut on luxuries and lead an austere life. Govt. has eventually made people unhappy and provoking suicidal tendencies in many who are fed up with this continuous price rise.
Politicians have been pro-commercial rather than pro-people for they have eased this hike with their malign usage of political influence in economic interests. Govt. is trying to justify that the conditions have been similar throughout the world. But, a comparison of the consumer price index with the other G-20 nations shows that India has the highest consumer price inflation at 14.97%, making it evident that the domestic policies are responsible for this.
The need of the hour is to set up specifically dedicated departments to study the trends in economy, which analyse the exports, imports and domestic agriculture conditions and propose new policies to check the price hike in our country.
The writer is a correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz.