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Capital sheds its onion tears again

The festive season has one flipside: inevitable inflation. But this year, price rise has been battering the denizens of Delhi, as well as the rest of the country, almost relentlessly. Only a month back did the sky-high onion prices brought the national capital to its knees with residents shedding onion tears while buying the staple vegetable. Compounded by the almost monthly diesel price hikes that is pushing up the freight charges routinely, shopping for groceries and basic food items has become a veritable nightmare for the people of this country. The aam aadmi, which all the major political parties claim to be catering for, is neck-deep in distress, since most of the important items in their daily intake have seen a massive rise in their prices, which cumulatively exceed the upper limit that an average middle-class family keeps for meeting its domestic needs. Evidently, the 323 per cent rise in the onion prices is anything but the result of unbelievable mismanagement on the part of the government and civic bodies, which are not able to control the unscrupulous practices of vegetable hoarding in different states. Moreover, when seen together with the rise in transport costs, thanks to diesel price hike, the whole sale price index itself has crossed the threshold for most of the household items, making them beyond reach for most of the population.

That inflation in India is at an eight-month high is of course a massive concern for all and sundry, but when coupled with the rupee depreciation and economic slowdown, it’s a deadly fusion. Though all eyes are now set on the RBI’s next moves, it is a fact that banking reforms alone cannot solve the problems. Evidently, the September wholesale inflation data has created more bases for increasing the repo rate by a further 0.25 per cent, thereby making other costs to go up. Nevertheless, it is the election season and a consistently high inflation rate is likely to deal a big blow to all the parties. It is always the food and fuel price that decide voting waves and the equations that the parties would enter into, given the post-poll scenario. With the Congress government in Delhi unable to fix the price conundrum, it is just uncertainty that’s looming large now.  

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