Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 09 December 2022 10.41 PM IST

To curb price hike


Despite countless miseries, Malayalees are preparing to welcome Onam. It is a good thing that the Food and Civil Supplies Department has started taking action to prevent the regular price hike in the market in connection with the Onam season. This time the Food and Civil Supplies department is preparing to start 4000 Onam markets across the state. Any festive season is an opportunity for traders to reap profits. Especially, during the Onam season. The precautionary measures taken by the government in view of this have been saving the common man from the price hike during Onam for some time now.

Meanwhile, the changes made by the Centre in the GST Act earlier this week are being reflected in the prices of all products. The price hike has already been applied to 80 percent of the goods. It is a relief that the government has come out against this. It is the responsibility of the food department to ensure that traders do not overzealous, contrary to the government's stance. The Finance Minister said the other day that the state will waive the five percent tax imposed by the Center on packaged rice and pulse products. The government had earlier decided that there would be no tax on non-packaged goods. But since anything related to GST comes under the central purview, there needs to be more clarity on this matter.

Usually, the prices of groceries and vegetables go up during the Onam season. Middlemen often take advantage of the opportunity and try to make exorbitant profits. If government intervention in the market is strong, this can be controlled well. Despite the efforts of the agriculture department, the state has not been able to achieve self-sufficiency in vegetable production throughout the year. It remains a distant dream. The problem is not the lack of agricultural land or the lack of government support. It is the unaffordable expense that is holding back all forms of agriculture here. There is hope only if the experts collectively think and find a way how to farm profitably.

There should be more government-owned product storage centres and sales channels to ensure price stability. Only if the storage and marketing of agricultural products remain smooth throughout the year will the farmers and thus the consumers benefit. At present, the functioning of such systems cannot be said to be promising. If there is ever a situation where the production increases, the farmers will have to face huge losses without even getting the floor price. Quite often agricultural products are cultivated in excess for the Onam season. However, there have been many occasions when large quantities of products got wasted as they were not stored in time.

The functioning of Supplyco stores needs to be expanded. Their functioning needs to be improved in such a way that all items are available every day of the year. The quality of the goods sold in Supplyco stores could not be ensured as these stores became a means of earning commission for a group of officials. It is not desirable for Supplyco to be in constant controversy. It is the need of the state that Supplyco stores should remain stronger as centers that people can rely on.

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