First demonetization, then GST and after that prolonged lockdown and above all climate changes, has overburdened the common man’s pocket. After fuel, prices of vegetables have hit a century in several metropolitan cities, pinching customers’ pockets. It is not just the customers who are expressing concerns over the soaring prices, but the traders are also taking the hit. Prices for other vegetables, such as capsicum and onions, have also risen.
The prices are expected to be high in the coming days. Food Inflation especially vegetable and fruit inflation is one of the prime monetary policy movers. In India, Food inflation was steady until 2005 after which it began galloping at more than 5% Y-o-Y despite the growth in demand is less than that. Naturally one might get a doubt as to why this anomaly?
Market Economy, Prices of vegetables are no longer related to what the farmers do or don’t. Prices today are decided by traders who buy up what farmers bring to the wholesale market in cities. The traders then sell to wholesalers, who then sell to retailers. Each price the lot based on what they paid to the previous party, plus opportunity price based on external factors. Farmers get the least. Final consumers – you & I – pay the most! “Prices going up” is the effect of events like lockdown, lack of manpower, fuel price rise and other such natural calamities, geopolitical disturbances and other that affect supply
Winter is supposed to be good for veggies but it’s not like that, today this winter concept is not true in large cities and towns, and hybridized vegetables. Vegetables are grown just about everywhere – and in all seasons. This has resulted in availability throughout the year in cities and towns. Transport and logistics take care of this. Carrots from Ooty, mustard greens from WB, potatoes no longer from Himachal Pradesh obviously there is a difference in taste and costs!
An assessment of the inflation trends over the last six decades indicates that India has encountered successive bouts of high food inflation, but the underlying drivers have changed over time; the influence of monsoon has declined and some new sources of price pressures have emerged. What is particularly notable is that during the 2000s, average food inflation fell significantly in contrast, since 2008-09 average food inflation has been higher than the average food inflation in each of the past six decades. This cannot all be attributed to poor monsoon. But then BJP in opposition made a lot of demonstrations and agitations. Now the same leaders are in mute mode.
Between 2012 and 2014 was the time when Indian media, the then opposition BJP and citizens had a deafening time whipping, questioning and mocking the UPA government on everything. The price rise was a particularly favourite subject. BJP leader and current Union Minister Smriti Irani shouted herself hoarse over the high cost of LPG cylinders. Others mocked that they would have to store vegetables in bank lockers.
The then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was on fire. The unchecked rise in petroleum prices was testimony to the UPA government’s failure and inefficiency. The Prime Minister had lost all moral authority to govern and must resign, he roared. Eight years later, voices have been muffled. The loud politicians are noiseless. The celebrities no longer mock the government or express their outrage on social media. Anchors no longer rage in TV studios. Even the man on the street does not protest.
Narendra Modi wards off attention from issues concerning common people like economic slowdown, price rise and unemployment. Top BJP leaders, including Modi and party president Amit Shah, have been repeatedly speaking about the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in their rallies in poll-bound states but they turned blind on inflation.
Between 2014 and 2018 when BJP-ruled Maharashtra 220 factories were shut down. Thousands of industrial units in Pune, an automobile hub, were on the verge of closure. Unplanned lockdown and events like the inauguration of the stadium brooked the nation. The common public finding it difficult to survive but the central home minister kept us glued to Kangana Ranaut controversies, Aryan Khan’s arrest and Sushant Singh’s suicide. School fees are rising, train tickets to fuel prices have gone unreachable, commuting has become costly, prices of medicines, house rents, electricity bills are rising.
On the other hand, income sources are constant there is no change rather, salaries were cut during lockdown but no respite to salaried people. No government is worried about the fate of voters but they are just diverting the attention of people to thrive on their vulnerability.
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