Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Market vigil

It is a constant, and ever difficult, struggle for all the states around the globe to generate more jobs for the increasing number of educated youth. With the spread of education, and growth of professional courses, there are hundreds of thousands of people to be accommodated in various streams each year. For any government it is not possible to create as many opportunities as can accommodate all the educated youth. So to create more jobs emphasis was laid on outside the government spaces. That was the reason for a vigorous emphasis on flourishing private sector. In India too, the growth of private sector witnessed a revolutionary fillip with the market liberalization of 1990s. Ever since, there was a consistent flourishing of the private sector, and it formed the mainstay of employment in India. Nagaland also benefitted from this liberalization drive in its own way. But with a crisis like Covid-19 this sector has taken a vicious beating. We have never seen such a widespread loss of jobs. The effects of this tumult can be seen in every corner, as people in the length and breadth of India lost jobs last year. Facing this job loss was a real challenge for the central government, and the state governments. Efforts were made to lift the economy from the depths it has suck into because of the pandemic, even taking special policy decisions about the private sector. And when the private sectors were slowly recovering, we are again back to square one as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hits us and the two major towns in the State, Dimapur and Kohima, have been declared as ‘containment zones’ with imposition of lockdown-like restriction since Wednesday (May 5) night. Indeed a year ago when the outbreak of coronavirus hit countries across the globe, lockdowns were imposed as the only way out to fight the onslaught of the virus till invention of a vaccine to arrest the pandemic permanently. With the imposition of lockdowns, the engine of global economy unprecedentedly came to a grinding halt and disrupted the global economic supply chain on large scale. This disruption in economic activities saw millions either out of jobs or faced drastic cut in their incomes. This extreme health emergency simultaneously turned out as a huge economic crisis. The kind of severe economic depression erupting out of this health emergency was more fearful for the people. In other words, in the first year of the pandemic, it was economic crisis which worried people more than the health crisis. As the economy faces tough time, people are hit hard in every possible way. One, the markets are sleepy and the business community is complaining of huge losses. This has a terrible impact on economy. Two, the loss of jobs resulted into a huge crisis. Third, the rise of petrol prices has sent shock waves into the inner recesses of the markets. Every consumer is hit because of the rising price of the petroleum products. Now all this goes into making an ugly tale of inflation. The prices of commodities, particularly eatables are going high with each passing day. This poses a serious challenge to the administration. On the one hand the market forces are dictating an upward trend in prices. On the other, there is an urgent need to contain the prices, as the common consumer is facing the heat. It is not possible, given the thin condition of earnings, to buy the usual bucket of eatables. Not to speak of the luxury items, even the stuff of basic need is hard to buy. In this situation the government needs to come forward and do something to stabilize the markets. And if there are any cases of overcharging, hoarding or profiteering that need to be seriously dealt with. There is no room for a lackadaisical attitude on this count. People are already burdened, and their backs are breaking under the twin burden of job loss and inflation. The concerned departments need to come into action and punish the errant in the market. At least there should be some action taken on those traders who stoke the prices of essential commodities. A stringent market vigil is needed in this hour of financial hardships. At the macro level government also needs to devise policies that bring the prices of essential commodities down, giving the much needed relief to a common person. To this end government needs to think some out of box solution.