The government consistently acts as the largest hoarder in the country, there is no reason left to question why rice prices are up by 20 percent.
Wholesale price inflation is prodding up all over again, touching the mark of 6.1 percent in August. This persistent forward stride of prices is led by food articles, as manufactured products mirror the consequence of sluggish demand.
Vegetables have played the role of a slayer this time by shooting up 77 percent overall, with onions leading among all by rising 244 percent. Though, these are seasonal circumstances that go away with the rains and the next cultivation, but, unrelenting inflation in cereals is truly troublesome. Although it is lower at 14.35 percent in August as compared to the 17 percent that has been affix in the last few months.
The price rise of food grains is entirely due to the negligence of the food ministry, along with people who do not seem to understand their responsibility and nor do they care. They are not even being held accountable by anyone in the system for their missteps.
The storing average for October 1 is 7 million tonnes of rice but as of September 9, official stockpile measures at 21 million tonnes. The government itself constantly acts as the largest hoarder in the country, there is no reason left to question that why rice prices are up by 20 percent.
Keeping stockpiles in surplus of what is necessary adds to the food subsidy, further making way to rotten, stealing and pre-emption of room for fresh procurement. Holding extra reserves fuels inflation, keeps interest rates high, adds to the fiscal deficit and deflates the rupee. This is not just carelessness but an anti-national activity. The minister and his officials must be tried for treachery.
Rigorous measures need to be called for to fight food inflation. States should excuse perishables from the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, if they cannot scrap the Act.
Electricity has to be made available to run cold chains in areas that can deliver fruit and vegetables to huge consuming centres. Cooling cargo cars can be added to long distance passenger trains, so that movement of cargo turns certain and speedy. Improved strategies would enhance farm harvest and profit. Policymakers can provide support and assistance, rather than only banking on the rain gods and appeasing them to trim food prices.