People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 51

December 20, 2009

Accelerating Inflation in Food Articles


The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on December 11, 2009.

THE Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its deep concern at the galloping food price inflation (WPI), which crossed 19 per cent in the week ending November 28. The inflation rate stood at 15.5 per cent in mid-November and 13.3 per cent at the end of October. It is clear that there is accelerating inflation in food articles, with the prices of vegetables (particularly potatoes and onions), pulses and cereals witnessing the steepest climb. Over 50 paisa in every rupee spent by an average Indian per day is spent on food and over 60 per cent of Indiaís population spends less than Rs 20 per head per day. The intense suffering of the masses in the face of galloping food prices cannot be overemphasised.

India is the only major developing economy in the world where prices are rising. In the backdrop of the global recession, food and fuel prices have been falling across all countries. This exposes the failure and callousness of the Congress led government.

The galloping food prices are primarily being caused by the corporates and big traders, who are utilising shortages for hoarding and reckless profiteering. The government has lost control over food prices due to the pursuit of free market policies. The CPI(M) demands that the UPA government take the following immediate steps in order to reign in food price inflation:

1) The government, in coordination with the state governments, must launch a countrywide crackdown against hoarding and black-marketing. All private traders of food articles must disclose their stocks and release surplus stocks.

2) Futures trading in all food articles must be immediately banned.

3) The government must release cereal stocks through the PDS by increasing the rice and wheat quotas for the states. The food security legislation should be tabled without any further delay.

4) The government must supply sugar, pulses and edible oils through PDS outlets at cheap rates.

The CPI(M) will intensify the struggle against price rise till the UPA government initiates these steps in the coming days.