Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The rising rate of inflation in the country may be a subject of animated economic discussion for the pundits and affluent people. But, for the poor families, it is a matter of life and death. In an inflationary economy, speculators and businessmen thrive, as the cost-push inflation gives them an excuse for increasing the cost of products and services. The real estate value and house rentals have gone up, educational institutions are increasing the fees beyond any reasonabl e level, and the cost of basic commodities like rice, pulses, edible oil, kerosene, etc., is steadily rising.

With inadequate earnings and nearly starving conditions, thousands of poor families are affected and driven to debts. Here, only the money lenders gain. The others can somehow make up. A survey amongst the cross-section of poor families readily indicates that many families now cook only on alternate days and the children are deprived of any nutritious food. In case of any ailment or sickness, most of them go without proper treatment as they just cannot afford to buy medicines or pay the doctors. If such conditions continue, it would inevitably happen that several poor families would be forced to discontinue even sending their children to school, as they cannot even afford to buy uniforms and notebooks for their children.

Helpless situation

Unfortunately, the government gives a feeling that it is helpless in tackling the inflationary issues. Obviously, the inflation is a man-made condition and is largely due to the inability of the government to frame and implement policies and programmes that would meet the challenges posed by such inflation. The corruption in the government machinery is adding to the woes of the poor as several of the government schemes meant to help them are being implemented at poor quality standards. Poor quality of materials supplied in ration shops and siphoning off of government funds earmarked for the poverty alleviation schemes are the ground realities.

All this has led to the widening of the gulf between the poor and the rich. If the government is not able to control inflation, why is it that it cannot improve the quality of the government machinery to ensure that at least the measures meant for the poor reach them and corruption is eradicated? The government should realise that the poor have nobody to defend them if the government were to fail in this task.

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