Why are we ready to pay higher prices for gold, housing, electricity and education, but crib when vegetable prices shoot up?”

.india vegetable pricesDevinder Sharma introduces the subject of the ‘stupendous’ rise in vegetable prices since the beginning of July, which he believes is due to hoarding and profiteering.

In his blog, Ground Reality, he compares attitudes to vegetable and fruit price rises with responses to other commodity price hikes. He asks:

“Why do the same people remain conspicuously quiet when the price of gold, for instance, jumps from Rs 12000/10 grams to Rs 30,000 and above. Does it not affect their household budgets? What about those who have to get their children married? Don’t they feel the pinch of the quantum jump in the price of gold/silver?”

”Over the past few years, the price of residential flats in every nook and corner of the country has literally gone through the roof. If you are an average middle class person, I bet it is not possible for you to even think of owning a house or a flat in any city. Thinking of buying land, then you must be really rich. News reports tell us that a cent of land in Mumbai is now more expensive than Tokyo or New York. Is that not the kind of inflation that affects the middle class? Then how come every one is quiet?”

”Instead of screaming at the top of their voice, I find the newspapers and the electronic media actually celebrate the massive rise in land and housing prices by bringing out weekly supplements. Just because any hike in real estate prices brings additional revenue for the newspapers and TV channels, they remain quiet and don’t  draw the attention of the Government to the issue.”

Sharma suggests that if vegetable hawkers (or their associations) were to start advertising in newspapers probably there would be no more TV programmes on fruit/veg price inflation, if and when the prices shoot up.

Other price rises are listed:

  • children’s education
  • college fees
  • train tickets
  • air fares
  • taxi fares have been going up
  • petrol and diesel prices
  • power bills.

And so on … so why just focus on fruit and vegetable prices?

Sharma thinks that we believe that the rise in prices of everything else except for vegetables/food is a sign of economic growth:

“The more expensive are gadgets/services, the better we feel. When a 2-bedroom flat in the outskirt of Delhi costs anything upwards of Rs 1.5 crore, we rejoice. We never get tired of telling anybody and everybody around us the price we have paid for it.

A labourer carrying vegetables at a wholesale market

A labourer carrying vegetables at a wholesale market

“But when the ostensibly poor people start charging us more, we start screaming. Our budget only goes for a toss when the tomato prices go up to Rs 80/kg or onion prices increase to Rs 60/kg.

“How come we are ready to pay crores for a flat (which surely is an excessive price) and only crib when vegetable prices shoot up?”


One response to “Why are we ready to pay higher prices for gold, housing, electricity and education, but crib when vegetable prices shoot up?”

  1. CHSUK Feedback

    By email: UK doctor born and bred in India

    I agree with Devinder Sharma.

    I wonder if it is from past history – we want the vegetable seller to stay as he is on the social ladder.

    One sees people haggling hard with the small traders, but do not haggle in the jewellery stores, or with the bigger traders.

    I have seen this in India, ashamed to say at times my own family doing it.

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