Friday, June 23, 2006

Passing the buck

Once again, the prices of essential goods are shooting up. The UPA government, who came to power on an anti-NDA wave due to the failure of that government to check the increase of price of essential commodities, repeats the same mistake. Though late, PM has chipped in with some suggestion to reduce the burden on the people, how much effect it will have on this jacked up market is yet to be seen.
It all started with the hike in petrol prices early this month. The government’s well thought out strategy was, increase it ridiculously, then when the protests erupt, bring it down to originally planned level. Well, it worked very well. As usual, behind-the-scene arrangements made sure that the LEFT staged a mockery of a protest, NDA went on with their protests and at the end, the prices are still going up.
The total increment in essential commodities is up to 40% in some cases. Consider tomato. It has gone up by 40%! The increase is partially due to the hike in petrol but the other reason is lack of supply since this is off-season for this crop. But an interesting phrase was ringing everywhere. It’s so much clichéd these days.
“The cost of production/Distribution/marketing has increased since the hike in petrol price. So we have to pass on the burden to consumers”
Well, right from the top notch FMCG manufactures to the friendly vegetable vendor. Everyone was repeating the same. Water bill, Electricity Bill, real estate, everything has gone up. Does the income of this poor consumer increases proportionately? No. But everyone keeps passing on the BURDEN to him. The government stated that Public Utility companies like, Indian Oil, can’t afford to take the huge losses it incurred due to the low price of petrol in India. Unless they are not increased, they will go bankrupt.
The vegetable guy say, since the petrol price has gone up, his overhead expenses like transporting, also increased. Every one has to pass it on to consumer.
But where we, the consumer, will pass it on? Could we cut down the amount of milk our children consume, because it comes dearer by 2 rs per litre? Or should we stop buying medicines for our parents? Or may be we just stop eating. I don’t know.

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