News / Economy

India Takes Steps to Check Rising Food Prices

FILE - Indian homeless people wait for free food outside a temple, in New Delhi, India, Jan. 1, 2013.
FILE - Indian homeless people wait for free food outside a temple, in New Delhi, India, Jan. 1, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
India’s government has announced measures to control rising food prices.  The government came to power last month on promises of reining in inflation, but a spike in food and fuel prices pose a challenge.
 
As inflation in the month of May climbed to six percent, the government promised immediate action to keep a lid on food prices.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says the government will impose restrictions on hoarding, the export of some items, and will track prices of essential commodities.   
 
“Minimum export price in relation to potatoes will be fixed, also with regard to onions, additional quantities of rice will be released into the market," said Jaitley. " Even though the increase has only been marginal, we do not want anybody to exploit the situation and therefore in anticipation of any further market reaction, a series of these steps have been decided.”  
 
To discourage exports of onions, the government has doubled the minimum export price to $300 per ton.  Onions, used as the base for Indian curries, are a hugely politically sensitive crop in India and rising prices usually trigger massive public anger.  

An increase in food prices was a major reason for the downfall of the former Congress-led government.  That is why inflation, which is at a five month high, is worrying the new Bharatiya Janata Party government, which has made controlling food prices and reviving the economy its top priority.
 
There are fears prices could continue to climb, because of forecasts that weak monsoon rains may hit crop production in the country of 1.2 billion people.  The government is also gearing for a shortfall in production of summer crops such as rice and cotton.
 
But economist D.H. Pai Panindiker, with RPG Goenka Foundation in New Delhi, says it may be hard to control prices of vegetables and fruits, but the government has ample stocks of rice and wheat, the country’s staple diet.  
 
“I think government has enough stocks of food grain, that is one advantage government has, but these must be used in time to check rising food prices," said Panindiker. "More effective measures are really stopping exports, importing wherever necessary whatever you can import and the release of stocks in time in the market.”
 
The government, which came to the helm three weeks ago, faces a tough challenge in the coming months as it tries to revive economic growth that has fallen below five percent.  Besides food prices, rising global oil prices due to the crisis in Iraq have added to the woes of a country that imports most of its oil.
 
The higher oil prices could add a crippling $3 billion to the government’s bill for subsidizing fuels such as kerosene and diesel.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8982
JPY
USD
121.07
GBP
USD
0.6376
CAD
USD
1.2215
INR
USD
63.612

Rates may not be current.