OPINION

Rising inflation

This refers to the report that inflation has touched a 45-month high. Nobody should expect the inflationary situation to subside anytime soon. If any political party claims in its election manifesto that it will tackle inflation, it will be uttering a blatant lie. The flare-up in food prices is not India-specific; it is a global phenomenon. The situation may actually worsen. A green revolution in Africa, which cannot be achieved overnight, is the only ray of hope in the long term. The discovery of a substitute for petrol is another long-term solution. Until this is achieved, we must be prepared for austere days.

N.K. Das Gupta,

Kolkata

The demand and supply of essential commodities have remained almost stagnant during the past year in India. There has been good rain in all the States. Then why the price rise?

There is huge unproductive expenditure in federal and State budgets, mainly consisting of subsidies and doles. There is a parallel economy in which a small percentage of businessmen backed by politicians take economy into their hands. The inflationary pressure is mainly due to speculative trading, forward trading, etc. A few steps that can help contain inflation: control the consumption level of petroleum products; tighten money supply; monitor all cash and real estate transactions; and include petrol, tea, coffee, etc., in PDS.

V. Dhakshayani,

Chennai

I wonder why all of us cannot do something to fight inflation instead of expecting the government to come to our help. Can’t we launch an economy drive in our own day-to-day lives? Why not drive less and use public transport whenever possible? We can certainly save by eating vegetables that cost less and put off purchases that are not unavoidable for the moment. While governments and central banks can react to crises, it is for the people to regulate their spending.

I.S. Kanthimathinathan,

Tirunelveli

There is a tremendous hue and cry over the government’s proposal to raise the prices of petrol and petro products. There is a demand that the import and excise duty on petroleum products be cut. We need to let the market forces balance themselves. Otherwise, oil prices will continue to soar. A chunk of the demand is from people who use personal modes of transport. These consumers mostly hail from the higher and the middle classes.

A hike in the price of petrol will not devastate them but only force them to use the fuel more efficiently. If the government continues to subsidise oil, the demand is bound to skyrocket resulting in further increase in prices.

Amit Arora,

Mumbai

A hike in the domestic prices of petroleum products cannot be postponed indefinitely. The only option is to reduce the consumption of petroleum products. The government should introduce a five-day week for all working people with more working hours if need be. People should be persuaded to use public transport. For covering short distances, they should be encouraged to walk or use bicycles. A cess or surcharge on income tax to meet the import bill is unacceptable. It would amount to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu,

Alappuzha

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