The price of all food items except cereals in the country has gone up by three times over the last month amid the lockdown implemented for the prevention of corona virus. According to the Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs and the Agricultural Product Marketing Committee (APMC), these prices have increased for three main reasons.
3 reasons for increase in prices
The first is that there has been a big 60 per cent decrease in the arrival of agricultural products in wholesale markets in April compared to the first week of March. Second, there was a sharp jump in transportation costs, as the lockdown disrupted the movement of trucks between states despite exempting trucks supplying essential goods. Stringent measures like restrictions on movement of people have led to a shortage of workers carrying and transporting food items and the number of truck drivers has also fallen sharply. Third, due to lack of access to the mandis, farmers are selling agricultural produce at a quarter to one price. According to Amra Ram, leader of All India Kisan Sabha from Rajasthan chillies, peas and other products are being thrown on the road.
The result of the increase in prices may turn into a decrease in demand, as the income of the common man has fallen sharply. According to Himanshu, an economist at Jawaharlal Nehru University, low consumption of food in households can lead to malnutrition and diseases. The relief, however, is that wheat and rice prices are stable. R Mani, economist at Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, said that due to restrictions, farmers are not able to reach the market. Central and state officials have failed to supply commodities at the right time and at reasonable prices.
50 lakh trucks parked on the way
40 to 50 lakh trucks standing are struck because of the lockdown. These trucks carry about 35 thousand crore rupees of goods. President of All India Motor Transport Congress Kultaran Singh Atwal said that only seven per cent of the 7 to 8 million trucks are running in the country. Empty trucks are also not allowed to return. Even 70 to 80 percent of the truck drivers are not coming to work. Work force for transportation of essential items are also not available.