Ad­dress ris­ing in­equal­ity

The Asian Age - - Edit -

The greens, namely veg­eta­bles like toma­toes, have led the in­fla­tion spi­ral in Au­gust which could pri­mar­ily be due to the late rains. This is a new de­vel­op­ment as it is usu­ally pulses that led the rise but this time they fell as did eggs, sugar, meat, milk and ce­re­als which is good news for the con­sumer. The flip side of food in­fla­tion is that the farm­ers stand to ben­e­fit only if the price in­crease goes into their pock­ets and not into those of traders. The gov­ern­ment has done well to raid the onion traders in Ma­ha­rash­tra who were hoard­ing this item and cre­at­ing an ar­ti­fi­cial short­age to jack up prices. The Goods and Ser­vices Tax also added to in­fla­tion in the core sec­tor like trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, as petrol and diesel saw a steep in­crease. The gov­ern­ment has to take the onus for the lat­ter as, though global prices of fuel have fallen the ben­e­fits have not been passed on to the In­dian con­sumer. The gov­ern­ment is try­ing to shore up its own bal­ance sheet at the cost of the peo­ple. It’s a no-win sit­u­a­tion for the con­sumer on this score.

In­fla­tion, as for­mer RBI gov­er­nor Raghu­ram Ra­jan has al­ways pointed out, hurts the poor most. This means that the bot­tom 10 per cent in the wealth lad­der, con­sti­tut­ing around 14 crore peo­ple are in the grip of hard­ship caused by in­fla­tion. They have no cush­ion of dear­ness al­lowance that the salaried classes have against in­fla­tion. The con­cern is that ear­lier there was job­less growth and now its growth with­out equal­ity.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had promised equal op­por­tu­nity to all from the ram­parts of the Red Fort, so it is hoped that he will look into this glar­ing in­equal­ity. He has for in­stance started the process of look­ing into the is­sue of why there is no job cre­ation, so there is a pos­si­bil­ity that he will look into the ris­ing in­equal­ity.

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