Sunday, June 29, 2008

The glamour of price rise

There have been several major issues that have taken place during the last few months over which the Government had very little control. The whopping inflation though was mainly due to the hike in petrol and diesel prices, was a global phenomenon. The impasse of Indo-American Nuclear Deal was due to because of the unrelenting behaviour of the Left parties.
Take for example the rise in crude oil prices; it was an international development and was caused by the stalemate between OPEC and the developed countries, USA in particular. It was a foregone conclusion that with fuel prices going up, prices of most commodities too would rise, as transport takes a toll on both retail and wholesale pricing. So what could the Government really do?
The Media, however, showed scant sympathy for the Government. They made it look like a political issue, having hardly anything to do with bad economics. The Media instantly began talking about the impending general elections instead of suggesting ways and means to curb the price rise and the inflation. Electronic media gave graphic presentations of how price rise had put pressures on common man and woman. So the camera tilted and panned in the kitchen presenting close up shots of less pappads and puris being fried in the boiling oil. But common man and woman for the media were those living in sky-rise apartments and bungalows and not people living in subways and slums.
Thus, we got very little to know as to how the price rise had affected over 30 per cent of people living with one dollar a day. Or, has it affected them at all? They were in penury anyway. So there was hardly any ‘glamour’ in focusing on the misery already existing. There was better ‘sense’ in brining apartments on to TV screens, as that is where you will find most commodities whose prices have risen steeply – LPG, edible oil and basmati rice – and not in god-forsaken villages where they are a rarity. Villages do not have cable connection. So news channels do not find the ‘usefulness’ of rural coverage as that will not fetch them TRP ratings.
One TV channel, though, said that the poor were not really affected as prices of essential commodities such as some vegetables, daal and some other pulses had, in fact, come down. That was indeed a grave misconception. The most essential commodities for the poor are rice, wheat and millet whose prices have gone up by over 15 per cent in the last one year. Perhaps there is some glamour in distorting reality and make it look normal or more than satisfactory. Remember India Shining?


cyril said...

hai your comments on price rise r really good.

Joseph Fromm said...

Dear Melwyn,
Welcome to the blog world. Interesting blog take, "media study" through the eyes of a Jesuit.