Price Hike

Price hike:- Price rise send family budgets haywire NEW DELHI: Even as India’s economy is said to boom, millions of its citizens are groaning under soaring prices of vegetables and food grains and | | wish the government would do something about this, reports from across the country say. From Chandigarh in the north, to Ranchi in the east and from Bhopal in central India to Kerala in the south, a cacophony of voices has been raised against the relentless price rise, with the common man wondering when things would return to normal.

While the poor have been worst hit, the middle class is also feeling the pinch. Tomatoes are selling at up to Rs 50 a kilo, cauliflower at Rs 42 a kilo and chillies at Rs 70 a kilo, playing havoc with household budgets and forcing people to drastically scale down purchases of non-essential commodities. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, at a news briefing here Thursday, made a passing reference to rising prices of vegetables, even as he focused on steps the government was taking to control the prices of food grains.

But, even more than wheat, sugar and pulses, it is the rising prices of vegetables that have hit the common man the hardest. The national capital is no exception to the rising trend, with tomatoes costing over Rs 40 per kilo against Rs 15 a couple of weeks ago, cauliflower at over Rs 42 per kilo and okra at over Rs 22. Among pulses, moong dal is selling at Rs 60-70, an increase Rs 3-13 against a week ago. “For the past two weeks the prices of vegetables are affecting our budget. Looking at the high tomato price, we have curbed its use,” said housewife Romi Dash. Earlier we used to consume over three kg of tomatoes every week, but for the last two weeks we are managing just one-and-a-half kilo,” Dash added. Traders said that while un-seasonal rain and a severe heat wave had affected production, the hike in fuel prices was also responsible for the rising prices. “Low production coupled with high transportation costs due to the fuel price hike is the main reason for soaring prices,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). Tomato prices have touched a new high of Rs 50 a kilo in Chandigarh. The government at the centre has failed to check the price hike. After the fuel prices were raised, we now have to face the burden of increased prices of all commodities. Is the government sleeping? ” complained housewife Anjana Thakur. Raghav Puri, an executive in a private firm, had a novel way out. “If the government cannot control the price hike, let them bring a law that binds all employers – whether government or private sector – to increase salaries by a corresponding percentage so that people do not suffer,” he maintained. Even the retailers have begun to feel the pinch. I have observed over the last few days that most customers have been cutting down on purchases. They are not even buying bread and milk as regularly as before,” said grocery shop owner Satya Prakash. “With the local crop sold out, tomatoes are being imported from Karnataka resulting in a sharp rise in its price due to the increased transportation cost,” said vegetable vendor Ashfaq. “Papa has stopped bringing fruits because they are too costly,” complained school-going Hani Saxena. Prices of vegetables have more than doubled in Jharkhand, forcing most housewives to drastically cut down on vegetables in the daily menu. The heavy rains in the first week of June destroyed vegetables in the field. The monsoon is generally expected in the second or third week of June and farmers harvest the vegetables by June 15,” said Vishal, a horticulturist. “This year, farmers did not get time to harvest the vegetables from the field and put them in cold storage. ” The situation is critical in Kerala, which is almost fully dependant on neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for supply of food items, including vegetables. Ever since the assembly elections got over (in May), the price of food items have been going up from 10 per cent to 75 per cent,” said Rajendran Nair, manager of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation that imports food items and acts as the second line of the public distribution system. Price of chillies has shot up from Rs 40 to Rs 70, while the price of pulses has shot up by 25 per cent and that of rice by 10 per cent. Food inflation jumps to 15. 58% as potato prices soar Food inflation shot up to 15. 58 per cent for the second week of November on he back of potato prices, which have more than doubled in the past one year. Other essential items like pulses and onion rose by more than 25 per cent in the wholesale market, government data on inflation for week ended November 14 showed. “Food inflation is incredibly high… The drought has aggravated the situation and I expect the wholesale price- based inflation to rise to around 7 per cent by March next year,” said HDFC Bank economist Jyotinder Kaur. With inflationary pressure building up, the RBI in its next policy review may take steps to check easy money. It is likely that RBI in its January policy might go for monetary tightening measures and raise Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) or policy rates,” Kaur said. According to the inflation data, potato prices rose by 111 per cent, pulses by 35 per cent and onion by 27 per cent in the one-year period ending November 14. Staple items like wheat and rice rose by 12 per cent each during the period. Vegetable too continued to stalk consumers registering a 12 per cent rise during the same period. However, among fuels petrol prices fell by 12 per cent, cooking gas by 7 per cent and diesel by 6 per cent.

Food inflation for the week ended November 14 was higher significantly even when compared on weekly basis. Axis Bank Economist Saugata Bhattacharya said the nature of persistence of higher food prices is worrying. “I expect wholesale price inflation to rise between 7 and 8 per cent by March-end,” he said. Among other items urad and poultry chicken prices rose by 15 per cent each, eggs by 8 per cent, moong by 6 per cent, arhar by 5 per cent and fruits & vegetables by 3 per cent. Led by costlier food prices, wholesale inflation rose to 1. 34 per cent in October from 0. 50 per cent in the previous month.

Inflation had remained in the negative for 13 straight months before trudging into positive in the first week of September at 0. 12 per cent. Among non-food articles, raw silk rose by 3 per cent and fodder and groundnut seed by 2 per cent each. Barley, however, fell by 2 per cent and tobacco by 3 per cent. Fuel index, on the other hand, remained unchanged at the previous week’s level. The primary articles index rose by 1. 2 per cent on weekly basis and 11. 04 per cent on annual basis. Food inflation shot up to 15. 58 per cent for the second week of November on the back of potato prices, which have more than doubled in the past one year.

Other essential items like pulses and onion rose by more than 25 per cent in the wholesale market, government data on inflation for week ended November 14 showed. “Food inflation is incredibly high… The drought has aggravated the situation and I expect the wholesale price- based inflation to rise to around 7 per cent by March next year,” said HDFC Bank economist Jyotinder Kaur. With inflationary pressure building up, the RBI in its next policy review may take steps to check easy money. “It is likely that RBI in its January policy might go for monetary tightening measures and raise Cash Reserve

Ratio (CRR) or policy rates,” Kaur said. According to the inflation data, potato prices rose by 111 per cent, pulses by 35 per cent and onion by 27 per cent in the one-year period ending November 14. Staple items like wheat and rice rose by 12 per cent each during the period. Vegetable too continued to stalk consumers registering a 12 per cent rise during the same period. However, among fuels petrol prices fell by 12 per cent, cooking gas by 7 per cent and diesel by 6 per cent. Food inflation for the week ended November 14 was higher significantly even when compared on weekly basis.

Axis Bank Economist Saugata Bhattacharya said the nature of persistence of higher food prices is worrying. “I expect wholesale price inflation to rise between 7 and 8 per cent by March-end,” he said. Among other items urad and poultry chicken prices rose by 15 per cent each, eggs by 8 per cent, moong by 6 per cent, arhar by 5 per cent and fruits & vegetables by 3 per cent. Led by costlier food prices, wholesale inflation rose to 1. 34 per cent in October from 0. 50 per cent in the previous month. Inflation had remained in the negative for 13 straight months before trudging into positive in the first week of September at 0. 2 per cent. Among non-food articles, raw silk rose by 3 per cent and fodder and groundnut seed by 2 per cent each. Barley, however, fell by 2 per cent and tobacco by 3 per cent. Fuel index, on the other hand, remained unchanged at the previous week’s level. The primary articles index rose by 1. 2 per cent on weekly basis and 11. 04 per cent on annual basis. Centre puts ball in states’ court over rising food prices The Centre on Thursday put the onus on the states to bring down prices of essential commodities saying unless they take action against hoarding, it would be difficult to provide relief to people.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar offered no immediate hope from inflation attributing soaring prices of potato and onion to bad monsoon and pest attack on crops in West Bengal. “I have written to the Chief Ministers that if the state government machinery is not alert, it will be difficult to provide relief to the people,” he said replying to a special discussion in the Lok Sabha on rising prices. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee too in his intervention earlier asked the state governments to activate the Public Distribution System and provide relief to people suffering from soaring prices. The states have to take action… it is the responsibility of the state governments to take action,” Pawar said, regretting that some states have not taken adequate action to check hoarding. With sugar prices touching unprecedented levels, the Minister especially wanted states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, to pay over Rs 200 per quintal to cane growers, as was being done in southern states. The food inflation, according to the latest data, soared to 15. 58 per cent for the week ended November 14, on back of rising prices of potato, onion