On Monday, Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the only way to keep a check on fluctuating food prices (read inflation) is to increase food output in the country.
It doesn’t need much thought to say that he is right. The question is: Can this government do anything about that?
To give one example, this year the government plans to spend Rs 300 crore to boost the production of pulses—a commodity that has seen a remarkable gallop in its prices in recent years. This sum is to be spread across 60,000 villages in the country, or roughly Rs 50,000 per village. Raising output needs a much more concentrated dose of money on farmer outreach, research and development, and better technology. The sum mentioned above won’t quite do that.
File photo of Pranab Mukherjee
For a government whose spending priorities have been remarkably lopsided, finding a fix for inflation is better described as a dream.