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Inflation and Us

Pick up any newspaper today and you are bound to see articles covering the recent rise in rate of inflation. Some talk about the causes and effects. Some take you to a journey in History accentuating events when our country faced a similar situation. Some postulate a list of do’s and dont’s for the government to tame the beast of inflation. Stirred by this newly acqired wisdom i was put to thought that in what ways can i as an educated urban citizen of the country lend a helping hand to this problem. After all i am the very part of the Great Indian Middle Class which has aspirations to see India as the next Economic Superpower.

For those of you who have been busy making a choice between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders for the next season of IPL Tornament, inflation means rise in price of a specific set of goods or services or any other commodity. It is usually measured as rate of change in an price index. In India we use Wholesale price index(WPI) which measures the change in the average price level of goods traded in wholesale market. Whereas most developed countries use Consumer price Index(CPI) for computing inflation, which measures weighted average of prices of a specified set of goods and services purchased by consumers. CPI is debated by many economists to be more accurate than WPI for calculating inflation as it measures the price paid by the final consumer in food chain.

This time around rise in inflation is blamed on the supply side constraints i.e. slackened production of goods globally.
So where do we fit in ? We as consumers of these goods and services can play a pivotal role in checking inflation. I thought over some points which i believe if followed by spirit and heart by every netizen of the country, can act as an starting point if not an elixir to curb spiralling inflation. All these measures attempt at arresting the demand side of price equation so as to bring it closer to supply.

Eat moderately. Yes, you heard it right. If you ever wondered to loosen up fat around your tummy or any other such essential organ then now is the time to be a go-getter. Regulate your food habits and eat moderately. Learn the therapeutic advantages of fasting for a day or two in a week and see the benefits. Of course such decisions you should take only after having medical counselling from a certified dietician.

Pooling up transportation services like car or bike. Amidst rising oil prices this will be our weapon to reduce the oil consumption in the country. But then there is a word of caution, we should not overdo it. We don’t want people to imitate the daredevil riders on Republic day and carry two dozen people on 3 bikes in an attempt to beat the world record. Also small measures like switching off your car/bike on signals rather than grizzling your engine and slowly crossing the zebra crossing in an attempt to be the first one to break out.

We can find inspiration in Community Cooking which was practised in many places in rural india some decades ago. It not only provides a way to prepare low cost nutritious meal for many families (and avoids wastage) but also can double up as an incubating centre for innovation where new and better dishes are prepared and rolled out for the masses.

Use community transportation services like city bus, MMTS etc. We understand the fact that at peak hours it takes a brave heart to dare step on the platform of a crowded bus. But we can workaround this bottleneck by planning accordingly. Let us try starting an hour earlier for the planned exigencies or twenty minutes before the peak time and beat the scorching heat and crowded bus.

The list can be never ending based on one way or the other where we can act as responsible citizen of the country and make judicious use of the resources. You never know, we might abate RBI’s conundrum which has to make a tough choice between economic growth and inflation. I would like to quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who said “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important”. Let us start doing these little things and ‘Chak De’ India.

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