L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Price to pay for lopsided policies

I read with interest Jayshree Sengupta’s article, “Scary inflation” (April 11). I concur with the view that the scene is grim on the inflation front but the present situation is the result of our piecemeal approach and half baked efforts to tackle the problems afflicting the economy, particularly inflation and unemployment. When the escalating value of the rupee resulted in the loss of export competitiveness and there were fears of loss of two million jobs, particularly in textiles, leather, marine products and handicrafts, the authorities decided to pump $1.9 billion of India’s foreign exchange reserves in the market to soften the surging rupee against the dollar.

However, considerable damage had already been done to the traditional sectors as handicrafts experienced a dip of 75 per cent, marine products declined by 50 per cent, leather and leather manufacturing went down by 19.6 per cent during the April-Jan 2008 period. There is need for effective implementation of monetary, fiscal and public policy measures and uninterrupted adequate supply of food items. Otherwise, the euphoria created by the Union Budget will soon disappear.

R.C. DHAND, Jalandhar



Further to the editorial “Prices move up” (March 24), I wish to add that with the ephemeral memory and anxious to eke out a living, the man in the street easily forgets the immediate past and is swayed away by the rosy future the candidates present during the elections.

When Mr P.V. Narsimha Rao became our Prime Minister, he had promised to hold the price line in 100 days. Neither he nor his successors could fulfil it. Worse, no MP or MLA, who claim to be the people’s protectors, has ever question it. Parliament was rocked on the same question on July 25, 2006. Even Dr Manmohan Singh had expected in March last that the prices would come down but in vain.

Sadly, two world renowned economists are leading us – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. Yet, the situation is going from bad to worse day by day while these worthy leaders try to pacify the masses by convincing with the help of the sensex and statistics that the country is marching ahead.



The rising inflation has hit the common man hard. The government is taking measures such as the export ban on a number of food items, removal of export benefits on steel, banning cement export. In Maharashtra and Delhi, many godowns have been raided and food grains recovered. This underscores the government’s commitment to book hoarders.

The editorial, “Rein in prices” (April 14) aptly suggested strengthening of the PDS. But PDS has perennially been under a sorry state, marred by moral and monetary corruption. The current situation demands a knee-jerk action. We must boost the supply and curb the hoarding. Union Minister Kapil Sibal aptly talked about “imported inflation” since the food prices are soaring worldwide.

People’s participation is also necessary to check inflation. They should cut down the demand by judicious use and preservation of food items.

RAHUL JAIN, Ambala Cantonment


The unprecedented rise in inflation has made the UPA government spend sleepless nights. It is claiming that it is a global phenomenon. However, we are exporting huge quantity of food grains without realising their demand at home. Every item from fruits, vegetables, meat, milk products to fish, already short in India, are being exported. Why? Even onion prices are up owing to export. The Centre should review its export policy to check inflation.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana


The editorial, “Runaway inflation” (April 7) was timely. The following steps are imperative to tackle the problem on a war footing. It is essential to check the money supply. Hoarding of special goods must be checked. We need to promote agricultural growth. The deficit financing should be reduced to the minimum. Along with population control, the export of routine consumption goods needs to be banned. And finally, the Centre should review the fiscal policy to check inflation.



The Tribune report “Inflation leaps to 7 per cent” (April 5) is disturbing. No doubt, the run-away inflation would help make existence for the hapless common man nightmarishly miserable. What a pity! Can’t the powers that be take some concrete remedial steps in the matter rather than viewing the gloomy development like a mute helpless spectator?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)


Price escalation will continue to afflict India’s economy till a very active population control policy is put in place. Moreover, the business community is always the first to implement the Pay Commission report. Just a mention of a 40 per cent increase in the media and all businessmen, from vegetable seller to food and cloth merchants, have implemented the hike. Our constitutional and administrative set up having deteriorated, the call for action against hoarders made by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister are scornfully ignored by the well-entrenched Chief Ministers of linguistically exploited states.

Huge sums of black money are pumped into economy at each election time. No politician is ready to acknowledge, much less correct the situation. The nation needs to take note of the fact that having qualified economists as the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission has not helped the situation because they have succumbed to political considerations.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar


Inflation has become a bugbear for everyone. The galloping inflation has made the life of ordinary citizen miserable. The main reasons are the fall in agriculture production in India and elsewhere. The government has adopted fiscal and monetary measures to curb inflation by restricting exports of essential items and by permitting imports and reducing duties thereon to augment the supply. These are only temporary measures.

In the short term, not much can be done on the supply side. But that is so on the demand side too. Irrespective of inflation, the demand for essential commodities is relatively inelastic and is unlikely to come down in future.

More needs to be done in respect of the demand management.

India has been a net importer of food grains, pulses and oil for many years. While the rate of increase in agriculture production has already reached a plateau, the population growth has been galloping. The thought of the Malthusian theory of population being applicable to India is a frightening reality.

Inflation rises when the supply falls short of demand. The strategy, therefore, calls for effective reduction in the demand for these commodities by addressing the growth of population. The Chinese model of adopting one child or two children norm is worthy of emulation. This will stabilise our population and solve our major problems. If China can address such a situation, so can India. It is a question of will!

S. NARAYAN, Mumbai


The rising prices of essential commodities have beaten the life out of the common people. Even the salaried people feel scared while visiting the market as the prices of dals, vegetable oils, fruits and vegetables have gone sky-high. Forget about apples, even bananas are costlier now.

When the economists tell us that our economy is growing at the rate of 9.4 per cent, we find our spirits raised, but the all-time high inflation is surprising. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar claims that we as a nation don’t face any food crisis because “we have over half a million tonne of food grain surplus than the buffer norms on April 1 this year”. The Food Corporation of India is reported to have 5.5 MT as on April 1 in its godowns against the buffer norm of 4 MT. The PDS has failed to help the BPL families as 40 per cent of beneficiaries were kept away from the scheme by denying them ration cards.

The Comptroller and Auditor General has stated in its survey that “half of the food grains for the entire country was being siphoned off”. There may be some cogent links between the national and international contours of the prices rise but the UPA government at the Centre must contain the rising prices of 15 essential food items so that the poor are not left in the lurch.


Tube-wells for farmers

The Punjab government has announced a scheme for providing tube-well connections to farmers whose land holding is less than five acres on priority. More than 10,000 farmers have applied for this connection in Mansa district alone. Except in a few small pockets, the ground water is not suitable for irrigation elsewhere. The soft water is available at the depth of 750 feet to 1000 feet, which costs more than Rs 3 lakh.

To save the debt-ridden poor farmers, the Punjab government should instal tube-wells at the head of each colaba area of Bathinda and Mansa districts. These tube-wells will increase the supply of water with canal water and farmers will got their due share of water according to the barbandi of the said colaba.

BOGH SINGH,Datewas (Mansa) 


Milk malpractice

The common man’s misery is increasing by each passing day due to the rising prices of essential commodities which the government has failed to check. As a result, household budgets of ordinary people have gone awry.

Adding to the woes is the shortage and non-supply of Verka milk to regular buyers at rates fixed by the agency. This is due to selling of Verka milk packets to milkmen who, in turn, sell the same to consumers at the recently enhanced rates by daily farmers. It is earnestly desired that the malpractice of selling Verka milk to milkmen should be checked promptly and the errant employees be given exemplary punishment to bring respite to consumers.

Dr I.S. KALRA, Ludhiana

Responsible party

The editorial, “Power sans responsibility” (April 2) criticised the CPM just for the sake of criticism. The CPM is a responsible political party. It has been supporting the UPA government despite so many problems.

It is due to the CPM’s farsightedness that the UPA government will complete its full term. Thus, the Marxists have helped in the national stability which is no mean contribution to the national cause.

The Marxist criticism of the Indo-US nuclear deal and the economic policies of the UPA government is on principle and not for self-aggrandisement like the other political parties.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith NSW (Australia)

Democratic values

Indeed, we have come a long way from our basic democratic values. Interestingly, the world’s big democracies are indifferent towards the issue of democracy in Tibet. Trade and commerce seems to have overshadowed even the basic values, which these democracies claim to represent.

Historical testimony shows that the silent voices have shaped the destiny, irrespective of the force with which they have been oppressed. Each one of us needs a space to live and breathe.




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