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Rising prices hitting the poor hard

Inflation has become a bugbear for everyone. It 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 Manmohan Singh government must contain the rising prices of 15 essential food items so that the poor are not left in the lurch.



I read the editorial, “Rein in prices” (April 14). Though inflation has been rising, the Centre has totally failed to check it. While it was about 3 per cent in 2004, it rose to 7.4 per cent last month. It may even go up to 10 per cent.

Our Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman are all noted economists. However, while they have been talking loudly about the rise in the GDP, they never bothered about inflation and price rise. In this, they ignored the advice of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who said that the Centre, while considering the GDP increase, should also take care of the price rise and inflation.

Consider the double standards of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. When the Congress lost elections in many states, she blamed the state units for the party debacle. And now she blames the state governments for the price rise and inflation.

Some measures which must be taken on priority are, freezing the prices of all commodities for some time, stopping exports for a few weeks, liberal imports, fixing the profit margins on all items equally, 24-hour notice to all stockholders to declare their stocks and strict action against all hoarders.

R.S. BHALLA, Malerkotla


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

Give due weightage to Ph.D

According to a report (Jobs and Career Supplement, The Tribune, March 19), NET is not necessary for the Ph.D degree holders seeking jobs in universities and colleges. The agricultural universities in the states are under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) which follows the UGC’s guidelines on matters pertaining to recruitment and grades.

However, the ICAR is not giving due weightage to those who have done Ph.D in agriculture. These students have devoted four years to complete their doctorate, but are still treated on on par with M.Sc students. This anomaly must be rectified and justice done to those having doctorates in agriculture.




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