Trucks turning away from Wagah border in Punjab, wholesale traders in Delhi threatening to launch a strike and other tales of woe show that the Central government is drowning in an onion soup.
In recent days, the income-tax department “raided” traders in many cities. It is not clear how this will help ease the supply situation. A better measure, if coercion was indeed what the government had in mind, would have been for the state food and civil supplies departments to seize stocks and market them. Yet, this elementary step was not taken. A lack of coordination between Central and state governments is pretty visible.
In any case, harassing traders won’t do when the underlying price dynamics point to scarcity, even if hoarding may be a part of the problem. Traders will speculate on prices: that is how they function.