With almost all countries in the world seriously worried about food inflation which causes upward movement of prices of most foods in the market, India seems to be a unique exception, with one of its ministers "boldly" stating that rising inflation is a happy trend to be welcomed. His reasoning is that high consumer prices would bring higher returns to the poor farmers of the country! Can it be true? Can a responsible government favor a particular segment of the Society to the detriment of others? Is it alright if consumers are forced to pay high prices to the every day foods required to lead a normal life? What type of a philosophy is this? One can understand such a position taken by a farmers' lobby but not by a responsible government spokesman. Such utterances make the efforts of the government in subsidizing every agricultural crop grown in the country appear insincere while making the so called free market economics based policy a laughing stock! Here is a glimpse into this ridiculous situation created by this minister through his irresponsible utterances.
Union Minister for Steel Beni Prasad Verma seems to have made a habit out of courting controversies. His latest comments are not just likely to spell trouble for the Congress, but also will not go down well with the Samajwadi Party, that supports the UPA government at the centre. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in Barabanki, near Lucknow, on Sunday, the minister said he was happy with the rising prices of these food items as it will benefit farmers. "Dal, atta, vegetables have all become expensive. The more the prices rise the better it is. I am very happy with inflation," he said. Clarifying his remark today he said, "I am happy when farmers' income increases. High food prices good for farmers." He added he was sticking to what he had said. Mr Beni Prasad Verma's inflation rationale has been slammed by the Opposition. "The Congress leaders are not affected by inflation at all. They are turning a blind eye to what inflation is doing to people. Hence they are saying senseless things like farmers are benefitting from inflation. This shows the Congress' mentality," BJP Shahnawaz Hussain said. The Congress today tried to distance itself from Mr Verma's comments. "We put a stop on interest rate to control inflation. You should know that inflation is a matter of concern. I will offer sweets to him (Beni Prasad Verma) and ask him to keep his words sweet."
One wonders whether this minister, after enjoying power and perks for many years so freely bestowed by the government has forgotten whether he is still living in India where there is a wide disparity between what farmer receives and what consumers pay in the market. It is an established fact that the market situation in India is neither farmer -friendly not consumer-friendly, with almost 40-200% of the consumer price being swallowed by the middlemen through monopolistic and unfair trade means. Against such a background how can one expect the farmer to be benefited by high ruling market prices. The ones who will be benefited are the middlemen who act as a conduit for flow of food materials between the producer and the end user. It is fortunate that the views expressed by this insensitive politician are not shared by others in the government!