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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.