Inflation is at its height in India.
A kilo of onions costs 50 rupees (that’s about $1.10 in a country where the average per capita annual income is under $450).
Raw onion is the poor man’s side dish in India, but the escalation in prices has left him with no alternative: his diet is now only rice. The government, soaked in scams and scandals, is not capable of curbing the soaring prices. The political opposition is stiff and vehement. The administration is paralysed.
Parliament was not able to hold its winter sessions. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in a tight corner. His ally, the southern-based DMK, has taken him to the verge of resignation. The Supreme Court, the highest judicial authority of India, is looking into cases of misappropriation of funds. The Central Bureau of Investigations is engaged in probing ministers, officials, and their aides who participated in the scams. In recent months there has been essentially no governance.
The disruptions have led to discontent among the people. They yearn for a change. But the choices are limited. The BJP, which was in power a few years back, is also not free from aberrations. Its drawbacks force the people to think twice.
There is crisis in every state. Andhra Pradesh is facing the Telengana revolt. Tamilnadu is in the grip of maladministration. Karnataka is in trouble, with an unstable coalition government. West Bengal had a spate of shootings and bloodshed a month ago.
The inflationary trend, which ranges from 12-13%, has led the Reserve Bank of India to hike interest rates.
The average Indian is feeling desperate. To survive, he needs an iron will. But, as always, he must struggle to sustain himself. He knows no happiness.