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Protecting the low income groups from the wilderness of price hike: OMS vs Rationing July 25, 2008

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Government is starting OMS in the face of persistent price hike. DR. Wahid uddin Mahmood was also telling in a seminar to start the OMS now without delay.

But our experience with the OMS in the last year was not so encouraging. We had seen dozens, some times hundreds of people standing in queues for a few KGs of rice or other items. The total picture is very distressful and disturbing. It is enough to symbolize the price inflation and economic crisis of a country. The actual price of a kg rice increases with standing for hours, loosing the working hours, loosing the options to pursue other jobs, physical distress and emotional stress.

Why the government is not thinking of introducing rationing system-is not clear to us. Rationing could protect the low income groups from the wilderness of the price hike. It is not the OMS but rationing which could maintain the uniformity of distribution to affected people, keep the didtribution specific to the affected group, minimizing the loss of working hour and other distress.

The price of essential in our country is not following any norms. The external factors or visible internal factors will not explain everything. You can not explain everything by the principles of economics. Why the price of essentials is rising by everyday or by every week? Only the unlimited greed on the part of holders and bad businessmen will answer the question.

Government can not solely depend on this open market policy. As Dr. Khalequzzaman, President of Bangladesh Economic Association said Government should revive the TCB and take the responsibility of the vulnerable groups of the society. The state management should not be all private or all public.

Rationing worked in our country in the past and is working in different states of India. Why not it will work now in Bangladesh?

The economy will not run only by the books. We should look at the situation pragmatically and at times, should utilize our own experiences.

If the government is hesitant about all out rationing, then it can start in a limited area on experimental basis and see how it works.

An ordinary citizen


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