APN News

  • Sunday, December, 2022| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:40:14
  • Dr. Vedapratap Vaidik

    If inflation continues to surge unbridled there is every chance of anarchy spreading across the country.  According to the latest government data, the wholesale price index (WPI) inflation hit a record high of 15.08% in the month of April this year.  This is the highest inflation rate recorded in the last 31 years. In the past, even at the lightest increase in inflation rate the country used to witness many nationwide protests and demonstrations.  Opposition parties used to create ruckus in the Parliament. Political parties used to come out on the streets in protest against price rise.  Though the prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing   there is no visible commotion among the public or in the opposition parties, except some isolated voices coming out through the media. 

    This reason for this stoic silence could be the onslaught of the Corona pandemic coupled with the Ukraine-War. The Corona left many millions unemployed for a long time. The Ukraine-conflict initiated an unprecedented spike in crude oil price.  The rise in fuel price impelled inflation because the cost of transportation increases with the hike in oil price. Not just that, the severe heat conditions also helped to propel the prices of vegetables, fruits and milk.

     The regular escalation in the prices of fuels  like petrol, diesel and cooking gas has upset the domestic budget of even the middle-class and the lower income group is struggling to meet both ends..

    The price of cooking gas has doubled in the past few months and many in the villages have returned to their age old firewood for cooking food, bequeathing the LPG cylinders.  The rural population can survive without the LPG connections for cooking food, for they have alternate options like firewood and cow dung cakes. For commuting the villagers can use cycles, instead of motor vehicles run on fossil fuels.   But, the urban dwellers do not have such viable alternatives in sight, at least for the time being. They have to depend on the LPG for cooking and motor vehicles for travel.

    Thanks to the fuel price hike, bus, taxi and auto fares have been doubled. Even metro rail charges have increased considerably.   The common man is heavily burdened and struggling for survival, thanks to the rampant increase in commodity prices. Prices of essential commodities including food materials like grains, pulses and cooking oil and vegetables have shot through the roof.  But the income of the middle class, working class and daily laborers are largely standing still and in certain cases it has dwindled.

    Many were forced to break their fixed deposits before maturity to meet daily expenses.  While the majority or our population is fighting for survival, our state owned oil marketing companies are reaping billions as profit, thanks to the ever increasing fuel prices. Governments are also making unprecedented fortunes through GST.  But have the rulers in the government ever thought to provide any respite to the general public who voted them to power?   Of course, the government is distributing free food grains to about 80 crore people across the country and it is a welcome initiative. But have those in the government pruned their personal and official expenditure?  The elected representatives like MPs, MLAs and councilors and the ministers in power are paid hefty amounts every month as salary and perks. Have they ever thought of salvaging those who voted them to power from the current misfortune of rising inflation?  The heat of inflation, even if it shoots up above 15%, will never disturb the comforts of these elected representatives because they are insulated from such maladies that inflict the public. 

    The prices of many essential commodities have doubled or tripled and the government has done precious little to contain the inflation that is showing no respite as of now.  In fact, this inflation has turned billionaires to multi-billionaires and millionaires to multi- millionaires. In essence the rich turned richer and the poor turned poorer.

    Public would have appreciated it if our elected representatives and leaders in the government trimmed their expenses  and also appealed to the elite and rich to adopt certain austerity measures  while the poor in the country are struggling  even to  feed themselves, thanks to the escalating inflation.  To keep the inflation under check, the government machinery has to act determinedly against profiteers and adulterers.  If inflation becomes intolerable and excruciating the wrath of the electorate might explode on the incumbent government. 

    *Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educationalmissions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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