One of the most important reform measures that can help dampen food prices, in particular, is enabling the extension of big retail, particularly FDI in retail, which will help cut out the many commission-gobbling intermediaries between the farmer and the final consumer. The UPA government has unfortunately blown hot and cold on retail FDI, but the Opposition (Left and BJP) has arguably done worse by staunchly opposing FDI in retail. The Left, of course, is caught in an ideological bind and the BJP is apparently in sympathy with kirana store owners, even though all available evidence suggests that there will be no wiping away of their businesses should FDI in retail be allowed. The Opposition hasnt exactly been forthcoming on other reform measures either. No one has raised serious questions about the governments decisions to continuously raise the MSP of key crops, something that may be contributing to higher consumer prices. No one is effectively criticising the wasteful public distribution system and calling for its complete reform or indeed abolition, something we have argued in favour of in these columns. There will be limited dividend for the Opposition if it simply continues to stall parliamentary proceedings on the issue of price rise without actually presenting convincing policy solutions for the same. Tactically, the Opposition, particularly the market-friendly BJP, may be missing a chance to lay down the gauntlet to the government on carrying out serious agricultural reforms. If the BJP were willing to support radical reform, the UPA would have fewer excuses for its inaction.