Food prices are touching the sky. And we are still wondering if these are the ‘acche din’ Narendra Modi had promised us so convincingly before he took over as our Prime Minister.
Sambhar-lovers, Dal Bukhara fans and tomato addicts are getting depressed because these foods no longer cater to the poor or the middle class. With Arhar dal costing Rs 170 a kilo, there will be more water on your sambhar.
The simple Urad dal is now competing with chicken prices at 196 a kg. And tomatoes, an important ingredient in most of Indian dishes, are acting pricey at Rs 100 per kilo. Tur dal is now elevated to the level of the best Kinnaur apples that come at Rs 150 a kg.
For the common man, all these food items became pricey at one go, leaving little hope for us. Thankfully, Potato prices, although up, are still affordable at Rs 20 per kg. Thank God for small mercies.
ASSOCHAM, the business chamber, conducted a survey on food inflation and found out that 56% of the people they spoke to, were using tomato sauce or puree instead of tomatoes. Demand of processed tomato sauce has risen by 40% in the last one month, a clear reflection of how people are trying to cope with inflation.
Recently, Baba Ramdev, shielding PM Narendra Modi, suggested a great idea to beat inflation: dilute the dal. But hasn’t the poor man been doing this for ages now; diluting the dal to feed his entire family? Now that it’s got dearer, the poor will just ditch dal, a very good source of protein and rather buy some chicken instead!
The rise in tomato prices along with dals, have also affected the budget of about 78% families in Indian cities. Among all, Delhi is the worst sufferer, followed by Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Tomatoes are scarce in mandis due to drought in major producing regions, such as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha. Global warming has played a big havoc on tomato fields this year too, with yield declining by 75% due to heat waves.
The inflation is a desperate indication that farmers of India are in dire straits today. And if they suffer, the entire country will reel under food crisis and inflation. It should be the prerogative of every state that they ensure farmers’ crops do not suffer due to drought or flood. And to ensure this, it will have to start with infrastructure development, with aid from the Centre.
Having said all, BJP’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (Together with all, Development for all) is proving true for the poor tomato, who in the developmental wave, has reached the highs of an apple.