Rise in rate of inflation makes the Government shiver in sleeves. The Finance Minister, nay even the Prime Minister, comes out with statements justifying the rise on the ground that it was the world phenomena and India could not be an exception in an age of globalisation.
The Finance Minister P. Chidambaram speaking on rising inflation said on April 20 that ?the prevailing general price rise could be attributed to imported inflation. We can control prices of some goods but no Prime Minister or Finance Minister can ever roll back prices of essential imported goods.?
Some of them in order to cover up failure of the UPA Government even held the NDA (that was voted out in early 2004) responsible for price rise in 2008.
But it bewilders one when the Government that is run by a clean man, uses dirty tricks to befool aam aadmi, he swears by with every breath. The rate of inflation announced for the week ending March 8, was 5.92 per cent whereas the final figure now made out for the same period is 7.78 per cent i.e., 1.9 points higher. If the same trend continues, inflation at 7.83 per cent for the week ending May 3 will end up over 9 per cent in the final figures.
Again the Government attitude on inflation based on wholesale price index that forms the basis of Government policies has been casual. There is no regular machinery to verify the data provided by producers or traders on a voluntary basis. Sometimes the samples included in the survey are not updated according to the price rise.
Again the weight given to different sectors does not take care of aam aadmi who has to spend 70 per cent of its earnings on food and fuel. WPI gives just around 22 per cent for Agro goods (wheat, rice, pulses, edible oil, etc.) whereas over 63 per cent weight is stated to have been allotted for manufactured goods, which are mostly beyond the reach of aam aadmi or it is once a while that he has to go in for them.
It seems that Inflation Index that attracts headlines is related to the rich that is why a minor stir in WPI becomes a big news where as Consumer Price Indexes which are mostly related to the labour/farmer are lost sight of or put in a forlorn corner of the newspaper.
It is perhaps for the same reason whenever people have raised their voice against price-rise of essential commodities like wheat, rice, edible oil or the like, the Finance Minister makes an appeal to the manufacturers of steel and cement to bring down prices and assures the people that price would come down in four or five months. Like P. Chidambaram, the Prime Minister also follows an economist'sescape route and asks the people to wait till September. Both of them perhaps forget or tend to forget that for those who are not sure of getting another meal of the day, September is too far and who knows how many more farmers would have committed suicide by then.
(The writer is former secretary general of Bharatiya Posts and Telegraphs Employees Federation and can be contacted at A-5-B/60-B Janak Puri, New Delhi-110058.)