There has been a sharp jump in prices of all but commodities in Jammu and Kashmir. In particular, the prices of vegetables have skyrocketed and have reached a point of very hard reach for many people in J&K. The pandemic hit-economy preceded by crippling lockdown post 5 August 2019 decision by the centre has made the contemporary prices harder for the common man. Inflation has been rising steadily but vegetable prices were all but manageable until recently. A closer look at the Consumer Price Index of June would show that while prices in the food and beverages group rose an average 7.3% year-on-year, vegetables posted a marginal 1.9% gain. The rise in prices is primarily attributed to the demand and supply principle. However, it is not the only factor that decides the prices in contemporary markets across the globe. There are other variables that impact the prices and include malpractices which greatly affect the pricing. Hoarding, artificial dearth, and monopoly can cause prices hike to the disadvantage of the common people. The other contributing agents include cartels. The last person severely affected by these factors is the common consumer. While concept of liberal trade and free marketing needs encouragement, it never means that the buyers are exploited. Unfortunately, there is an unhindered accumulation of huge capital in the hands of a few manufacturers, pushing a common customer into jeopardy. The prices are fixed without any regard to the impact it has on the common consumer.
It is here that the government should come forward and streamline the markets especially in controlling factors that are associated with pure malpractices by some unscrupulous people. The government needs to face local challenges with lot more authority than it is showing or lacking presently. At all levels, the government is responsible for safeguarding the interest of common people. There is a full-fledged department, tasked with the duty of managing the prices of essentials. Hovered there are complaints the concerned officials are not taking action against the errant which only encourages the former at the peril of a consumer. The official machinery needs to step up efforts to give relief to the common consumer. The traders and businessmen doing business in a fair manner need to be encouraged but those contributing to inflation by resorting to unfair means should be taken to task. The government should also keep a check if companies or traders are raising selling prices to protect profitability at the peril of the common consumer.