Fleecing the poor

Contrary to official claims of stability in price level, latest official figures released on Thursday brought out a grim reality. Wholesale inflation has risen to a 4-month high of 3.24 per cent, mainly because of the soaring prices of vegetables, especially onions. Prices of food article have gone up by 5.75 per cent in August as against 2.15 per cent in July. Vegetable prices rose by 44.91 per cent in August against 2.15 per cent in July. Onion prices in particular high-jumped by 88.46 per cent in August, against a ‘contraction of 9.5 per cent in July. No explanation whatsoever has been given for this unusual phenomenon.
Obviously, the middlemen who control the wholesale market are manipulating prices to fleece the poor. The government, as always, chooses to remain a silent and passive spectator. Nobody talks of using the wide powers given to the government under the Essential Commodities Act. A good portion of the money being extorted from the common people is likely to find its way into the coffers of political parties, as next general elections approach. These are figures for the wholesale market. In retail market the price spurt will be even more. The more the prices rise, the more the erosion in the real income of the people, the more the fall in domestic savings and the more the fall in demand in an economy already hit by demand recession. The vegetable price manipulators know that no political party will either open its mouth or hit the streets to protest against the organized looting of the people.
This is the reality of the ache din the people were promised. Statistics cannot hide this ugly reality. The people were fleeced before 2014, people are being fleeced today and people will continue to be fleeced beyond 2019. On the one hand there is talk of introducing ‘bullet trains’ by 2022, on the other there are suicides by farmers of Maharashtra and Gujarat. India is prospering at the cost of Bharat. Inspired stories are being written why the adivasis uprooted from the land that they have tilled for generations are really happy with their eviction. Indians are gulping such stories. The groaning of the poor living in Bharat does not reach their ears, their agony does not touch their heart. No bullet train can reduce the distance between India and Bharat.

Friday, 15 September, 2017