Getting a grip on food prices
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbing up to 10.56% in December from last year has made the lives of the middle-class and lower-middle class miserable. Hoarding of foodgrains and rotting of foodgrains due to a shortage of storage facilities has compounded the problem. The need to raise output to meet the increasing demand need not be overemphasised. Fertile agricultural lands are fast shrinking with more and more land being converted into sites for dwelling and industrial purposes. Even forest land is fast dwindling, affecting timely and sufficient rainfall, adding to the woes of growers in the form of reduced output over the previous years. Not to mention the sad dwindling in wildlife. The gap between demand and supply of essential commodities is widening, contributing to the rise in prices. Bad policy and bad governance have indeed contributed to the hike in prices of grain and sugar. It is amusing that sugar prices are rising despite a reduction in the consumption of sugar registered due to diabetes affecting more and more people in the recent past. The CPI may move further forward, unless the government comes out of the policy paralysis in controlling the prices and raising the output of essential commodities.