In recent times, there has been a steep rise in prices. There is felt, all over the country, an all-pervading rise in the price level. Majority of the Indians are living below the poverty line.
They are hit hard by the soaring prices of essential commodities. This spurt in the price level is a matter of serious concern and anxiety for the whole country.
India inherited inflation as a legacy from British rulers. Instead of setting the house in order, the rulers of free India developed a nexus with big industrialists and business magnates for their mutual benefit.
The governments had been quite generous in showering favours in the form of licences, quotas of articles to be imported from abroad, allotment of prime land for the establishment of factories, etc.
The industrialists, businessmen and press barons, on their part, contributed liberally to the election fund of the ruling party. Even many MPs and MLAs had been on the payroll of many business houses. This mutual give-and-take policy has played havoc with the lives of the weaker sections of the country.
This rich class of businessmen indulges in unhealthy practices like adulteration, smuggling, black-marketing and hoarding. They keep their interests above national interests. They raise the prices of the goods at will on one pretext or the other.
The government is never serious in checking the activities of such people. The administration is hand and glove with them because the officers are silenced by these crafty people through bribes. This class of traders and speculators cause the artificial fluctuation of the price-level by means of hoarding, speculation and black-money.
The abnormal rise in prices in India in recent years has been the result of a variety of factors. The inclemency of nature, as well as the weak economic machinery of the country, may be said to have equal effects on this rise in prices. Moreover, certain errors in governmental policy and the price level.
- First, the unscrupulous people belonging to the class of businessmen and industrialists are always on the look-out for the opportunity to mint money through all means. A stable and strong government at the centre is viewed by such people as a thorn in their flesh. They swing into action when era has come as a boon to them. They feel that the government is weak and unstable.
- Second. the problem of militancy and the proxy war waged by Pakistan Against India during the last decade has forced the government of India to focus its attention on meeting the challenge to her security. The China Indo War of 1962 and the three Indo-Pak wars have been responsible for the country have shot up.
- Third, there is a rapid growth of population in the country. This has exercised a heavy pressure on the price-level despite a satisfactory increase In food production. After all, it is difficult in India to cope with the fast-multiplying population by any simple increase in the production of food or industrial goods. The inevitable result is inflation.
- Fourth, the large scale development programme, undertaken by the government, has an indirect effect on the price level of the country. There has been felt a shortage of consumers goods due to the implementation of different projects under Five-year Plans. A rigorous policy of import control has also created a shortage of goods in the country. The price-level has gone naturally sky-high.
- Fifth, the.policy of deficit financing, rather recklessly followed, has an adverse effect on the price-level. The huge sums of money raised in different Plans by means of deficit financing to meet the developmental programme have added a lot to the inflationary trend in the country.
- Lastly, the increased expenses, incurred for importing petroleum products and the rise of their prices in the home market, has added to the inflationary potency.
With the induction of Mr Atal Bihari Bajpai as the Prime Minister of India a couple of months ago, the people of India heaved a sigh of relief. They have faith in his integrity, honesty and capability.
True to his professions, he has decided to smash the nexus between the business magnates and the rulers of the previous regimes and to weed out the canker of corruption by creating an institution of Lokpal.
To distract his attention they have again resorted to ugly means for creating chaotic conditions in the country. It is hoped that he will be able to meet the challenge posed by such elements.
The efforts of the previous governments to check inflation have proved ineffective because the efforts lacked sincerity of purpose. There is a payment in politics. The power that keeps the poor people in the cold grip of scarcity and high prices cannot escape the writing on the wall.
The present government knows it well and it is expected from the government that it will tackle the problem of price-rise effectively and bring it under control, Mere speeches and political slogans will not do. Sincere and Serious efforts in that direction will certainly pay dividends.