The Price-Rise – How to Tackle It?

Can the price-rise of the essential commodities ever be combated by any urban-dweller or the salaried middle class people?

Every now and then, we read the newspaper articles deploring the sky-rocketing prices of the essential edible consumer items in India. It seems that nothing has changed on this front since 1947 till today if we are to read the cartoon strips of the common man authored by RK Laxman dating back to 1950s! Even in the 1950s, the price-rise of the essential commodities was a worrying concern for the ordinary Indian citizen and continues to remain so even today despite all the much-hyped economic prosperity. The only perceptible change seems to have been the erection of the statue of RK Laxman's common man at the premises of Symbiosis, Pune!

Everyone seems to be having one’s own theory about this price-rise.

The government officials enjoying the cushy jobs, economic security and economic prosperity like Montek Singh Ahluwalia don’t seem to think even twice before pronouncing the priceless statements like –The price-rise indicates that the economy is prospering and the people are willing to pay more! One has to only ask the middle class housewife whether the economy is really prospering or not and whether she is willing to shell out more for daily kitchen-necessities or not when she would think 100 times about the cost of the ingredients comprising a cup of tea before inviting Montek Singh Ahluwalia for a cup of tea!

Others tell you the demand-supply imbalance to justify this onion-eye-watering price-rise. Such intelligent economists try to calm your anger by telling you that your local vegetables vendor and grocer was forced unwillingly to hike the price, since there was less supply of these essentials to the local mandi/market from the agriculturists. It was a case of the availability of fewer items and presence of larger outnumber of desirers of these things!

So, what? You ask. Well, you are told not to be naïve. Why would the mandi laalaa or the middle-sales person let slip the opportunity to make more money when the other buyers are willing to shell out more than what you are willing to! Why are you crying foul? Go, bring more money or else cool down reading Jug Suraiya’s article ‘Fast Forward’ in the TOI offering you unsolicited tips and hyper-incisive insights into as to how to survive the price-rise by fasting for days together, by not drinking milked-tea and so on!

You may still be adamant and ask further – Why can’t the Indian Government step in to control this inflation-related price rise? True! But, didn’t someone brush up your general awareness about the political governance in India? What do you mean – you ask curiously. Well, the agricultural minister lets the price-rise shoot up probably only to benefit his economically poor agriculturist brothers and sisters in the agricultural hinterland!

It’s a different story altogether that the agricultural minister tries to retain the votes of the middle class family first by increasing the price of Sugar, say, by 10 Rupees a kg and then decreasing it by Rupees 2 per kg! What a fine stroke of statespersonship!

But, you protest meekly – the benefit does not seem to be passing on to the poor farmers if the growing number of suicides by the farmers is any indication! It could only indicate that only few select at the top in the powerful sugar lobby are becoming rich! So, you mean to say that the benefit of the price-rise reaches neither the real producer nor the consumer?

You don’t bother. This humble writer has a possible humble solution.

The direct purchase of the necessary daily items from the agriculturists [from their fields/farms in villages] by the residential welfare associations [RWAs] could prove to be one of the effective ways of combating the price-rise of household commodities like the vegetables, grains, fruits, etc. This may help overcome and bypass the unholy presence of the local mandi dictated by the local laalaa-government duo! This may provide great relief to the urban consumers. Similar step may be taken by consumers on all levels – be it the street, locality, village, city and so on!

This humble solution need not necessarily be an original one by me. May be! May not be! It may simply be the case of me having put it in writing well before than other writers could do the same! May be! May not be!Is it that everyone knows about it and worse no one either knows how to implement it or has the real willingness to implement this solution...?


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