The problem of rising prices is the greatest economic problem of India today. The constant rise in prices is cutting the throats of millions today because millions of people find it hard to earn one square meal a day. Millions in India today sleep without food at night and wake up hungry in the morning to do their day’s work. But all their day’s work does not promise them sufficient to eat and drink.

No doubt it is a baffling problem throughout the world, still a developing country like India can only ill-afford it. It has and will further make poor poorer and rich richer and consequently will bring untold miseries to men of common means. Prices have become double in the last five years and many common things are beyond the reach of the common people. Even pluses have become a luxury and only the rich can afford them. Meat also sells at a fabulous price. More and more things are going beyond the pockets of the common people.

There are various factors that contribute to this rise in prices. Some are natural factors like unfavourable weather conditions which affect the food production and lead to the shortage of commodities in the market. With more money chasing less goods the prices take to the wings. Compounding this natural problem are other man-made problems like hoarding which contributes to the escalation of prices and the reasons are not far to seek. There is a craze for getting rich as quickly as possible. The industrialists, the manufacturers and the middlemen seek the highest profits and have no soft corner for the poor consumer and the purchaser. Big industrial concerns have become like economic empires and dictate their own terms to the common people. Some twenty families of Tatas, Birlas, Dalmias, Ambanis, Singhanias and others hold the country at ransom. They have tons of black money and they are running parallel government. Smugglers, industrialists and the black marketers are the real masters of our land. They hold police and judges as their slaves.

Apart from the natural and man-made factors that add to the price rise, the government is also at fault. It is increasing taxes on raw materials and finished products, thereby pushing prices to astronomical heights. It has been resorting to a deficit financing and printing currency notes by the tons. It has increased prices and the common man is paying for his needs through the noise. In the recent times the official rate of inflation has been hovering around 7 to 8 per cent.

To keep the prices of essential commodities within reasonable limits, the Indian government had constituted the cabinet committee on prices and special committee of secretaries on monitoring prices. These bodies monitor the prices and supplies of essential commodities regularly. Apart from these the Department of Consumer Affairs monitors the price of 12 essential commodities e.g. wheat, rice, oil (groundnut as well as mustard), vanaspati, sugar, arhar, gram, salt, tea, potatoes and onions on a daily and weekly basis.

Though the government’s steps to check rise in prices i.e. inflation are laudable  these measures will have a positive impact on the prices only if they are coupled with a massive drive against hoarders, black marketers and anti-social elements.