The principle of demand and supply is at the root of fixing the prices, and ever since humankind has entered this kind of transaction we have found fluctuations in the prices determined by the supply and demand principle. But this is not the lone thing that decides the prices in the modern day markets, as there are other variables too that have an impact on the prices. There are other things that fall into the category of malpractices and affect the pricing in the market. The things like hoarding, artificial dearth, and monopoly can cause hike in the prices to the disadvantage of the customers. Cartels are also seen as contributing to the rise in prices. In all this it is the common consumer that takes a hit. The idea of a liberal trade and free marketing does not mean that buyers are taken for a ride.
In fact these ideas were promoted to make trade hassle free so that it grows in a natural environment of competition. Never was it meant to exploit the customers. But unfortunately the growth of industries and an unhindered accumulation of huge capital in the hands of a few manufacturers has pushed a common customer into jeopardy. The prices are fixed regardless of how it will impact the common consumer. It is here that the governments should come forward and streamline the markets. But unfortunately the governments are increasingly becoming the beneficiaries of the corporate and this doesn’t augur well for the consumers. This is happening at a bigger level in the world. At the same time there are local challenges in this regard. At a local level the administration is responsible for safeguarding the interest of a common consumer. In J&K we have specific departments that are tasked with managing the markets. But there are complaints that the prices are out of control for various consumer essentials and the concerned officials are not taking action against the errant. It is time for the officials to move into action and give relief to the consumers. Albeit without doing injustice to the traders and businessmen. It is very important to understand the situation on both sides of the transaction.