The prices of articles of daily use are rising everyday. The rates of sugar and edible oils have been increasing very steeply. Other necessities of life have also registered a big increase in their prices. The consequence of this unchecked rise in prices has been disastrous for the people. The wage earners have been hit hard by this rising trend of prices.
There are several causes for this continuous price rise. Firstly, the population of the country is increasing while the agricultural and industrial production is not keeping pace with it. The inevitable salt is that the demand for various goods has increased. Secondly, unscrupulous businessmen create artificial scarcity by hoarding goods and selling them in black market. Thirdly, there are occasional droughts in some parts of the country resulting in shortages and floods in other part of the country and consequently the rise in prices. Frequent strikes and lockouts adversely affect the industrial production. The hike in the price of oil products from time to time contributes to the rise in prices by pushing the cost of production up and also increasing transport charges of goods.
The government has been trying to hold the price line. It has taken over the wholesale food grain trade. Rationing system has been introduced to assure the supply of food grains, sugar and edible oils to all the people. Consumer cooperative stores and super bazaars have been opened to stabilize prices. The results, however, have not been very encouraging. The government has now armed itself with powers to detain the hoarders and black marketers without trial under the Essential Commodities Act but this too has not shown any tangible results. The correct remedy is to increase production both of agriculture and industrial goods.
Unless power supply position is improved, industries will not be able to run to their full capacity. Again power is needed in agriculture also. The immediate need of the country is to have consumer resistance movement which should see that the retailers and the wholesalers reduce their margin of profit.