Friday, December 31, 2010


Probably the whole world could be laughing at the Onion "circus" being orchestrated from New Delhi but the hapless Indian citizen can neither laugh nor cry experiencing the sky rocketing retail prices of the great vegetable onion during the month of December this year. Cannot laugh because the pain is too much for buying this daily need of this essential vegetable and cannot cry because there is no tear jerking onion that is purchasable with their income even to shed a couple of tears! Is it not a pity that the whole political class is carrying out a charade passing on the buck for causing this avoidable agony to the citizens. A callous food minister blamed the rains, another minister accused the traders for hoarding and the traders felt that farmers were responsible for the chaos. The symbolic gestures of banning exports for a few days, after ignoring the brewing troubles on the onion front and abolishing import levy of about 10%, were too little and too late. Probably if such a callous mismanagement happened in China, imagine what would have been the fate of those responsible for this suffering to the citizens!

"Onion prices in the country fell more than 30 per cent after the government banned exports to rein in the cost of the vegetable. Prices had more than doubled in the past week due to a shortage caused by unusually heavy rain in growing areas. Discontent about food price inflation is another headache for the UPA government struggling with a slew of corruption allegations and an emboldened opposition. The agriculture ministry on Monday banned exports until Jan 15, and will import onions from Pakistan, as retail prices jumped to 80 rupees ($1.77) per kg from 35 rupees per kg last week, media reported. "The situation will be normal in two to three weeks. Onion prices rose because of rains in Nasik and other onion growing areas," agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told reporters on Tuesday. "The ban on onion exports should help reduce the prices." Average onion prices at the country's largest wholesale onion trading hub in Lasalgaon, in western Maharashtra state, fell 34 per cent after the ban to 2,500 rupees per 100 kg. "Restrictions on exports today pulled down prices in the wholesale market. They will fall further in the next few days in the wholesale and retail markets," RP Gupta, director at the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), said".

Consumer must consider himself lucky that he is not being blamed for eating too much onion and spared the "disgusting" advice from the ruling elite to sacrifice by cutting down daily onion consumption drastically as a part of his patriotic duty! A Governor of a Southern State had the gumption to publicly exclaim as to why the consumers are so exercised about a few rupees increase in onion prices, conveniently ignoring the fact that the retail cost increased more than 300% in several areas in the country! The least one could expect from the "cool" Prime Minister of the country is to banish the minister in charge of food portfolio, who has been a spectacular failure, from any responsible position with influence on the daily lives of the citizens.


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