‘Curb hoarding, black marketing to control inflation’

The Hindu/Outlook Money, July 28, 2008

A policy research group has suggested the government to curb hoarding and black marketing instead of blaming external factors for the persistent high inflation.

“A high and persistent rate of inflation has become an important macroeconomic characteristic of the Indian economy. Rather than blaming external factors only, it is high time for serious engagement in inflation control policies and measures to curb hoarding and black marketing,” consumer policy research and advocacy group Cuts International has said.

It has submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and Chief Ministers of various states pointing that inflation should be the first priority for the government.

The memorandum suggests inflation should be dealt with effective micro measures such as fast track implementation of the competition law and curbs on hoarding and black marketing in the states through a carrot and stick scheme.

The Centre cannot do much about curbing hoarding and black marketing. It is the states who have to implement the laws, Cuts International’s Secretary General Pradeep S Mehta said in a statement.

He suggested that unless the Centre rewards better performing states, the will to crack down on black marketers will remain merely on paper.

Mehta said the objective of the government should be to remove barriers that prevent consumers from enjoying the lowest possible prices and the highest quality.

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