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AGRICULTURE

Disruption in fruit & veg supply and fuel prices likely to hit budgets
Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Any disruption in the supply of essential agri products, including fruits, vegetables and milk, due to the farmers’ protest, in addition to the high auto fuel prices, is bound to hit the common household budget.

This was stated by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), making an appeal to the government to reach out to farmers.
 
“Hopefully, the situation would be handled well with assurance to the farmers about their grievances, which mainly relate to a fair and remunerative price for their produce,” said D S Rawat, the Chamber’s secretary-general.

“I am sure there can be no two opinions about improving the lot of farmers who are the backbone of the Indian economy, but a sudden disruption in supply can do harm to the entire distribution chain, which is under pressure because of the increasing cost of transport, that is reeling under the high cost of petrol and diesel,” he added.

According to the feedback of the Chamber, the consumers of petrol and diesel, and those suffering their cascading effect, want a sizeable cut in the level of taxes on the fuels, both at the Central and state levels.
 
The level of awareness among the households about the kind of taxes on the automobile fuel has increased, thanks to the mushrooming growth of social media. The response time has also quickened, so much so that the solutions to even the vexed problems are expected sooner than later.
 
It is a Catch-22 situation for the farmers as well. While they are seeking better prices for their produce and reduction in the cost of output, the expenses on account of transportation of their crops, diesel for pulling ground water, etc., are only increasing.

The consumer may not be inclined to take any extra burden. It only makes imperative that the entire supply chain from the farm gate to the household must be modernised and made efficient with the help of technology and modern ways of doing business. It is in this context that large multi-national players like Walmart should be encouraged to set up both the front- and back-end logistics.
 
Although the increase in the crude oil prices has halted a bit in the last few days, ASSOCHAM said, “We have got to be watchful on another front - rupee rate versus dollar. But here too, some relief has come about in the past few days, as the macro-picture looked better with better than expected gross domestic product (GDP) data.”

“The country is certainly not prepared for importing inflation, as we await anxiously the next review of the credit policy by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” it added.
 
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