Wielding steel plates and shouting various slogans, tens of thousands of concerned citizens held demonstrations in New Delhi Wednesday over fears of surging food prices and the highest inflation rate of any major Asian economy.
According to the Eurasia Review
, approximately 40,000 protestors marched from the New Delhi center towards the parliament building. Demonstrators, including several trade unions and a person linked to the nation’s ruling party, the Indian National Congress, are applying pressure to the government over its alleged scandals and corruption.
One farm labourer said he earns R120 ($2.65) per day, but noted that he can’t afford to eat when the prices of everything, ranging from fruits and vegetables to wheat to sugar, are soaring, reports CNN International
. “How can we afford to eat when costs are so high?”
notes that the wholesale prices of agricultural products, such as rice and vegetables, increased 11.49 percent. This has prompted the government to take measures to enhance spending on the country’s agriculture and irrigation in next week’s budget.
Although the 78-year-old Indian Prime Minister went on national television and declared that he was not a “lame duck” leader, he did acknowledge that his government could have done more to curb inflation, but explained that he wanted to continue India’s growth and recover from the financial crisis.
Voice of America
reports that Singh now views inflation as a significant threat and urged the country to produce more food.
Sharad Pawar, the Minister of Agriculture, has suggested exporting its limited quantities of rice and wheat because the move would restrain surging international food costs.
Wednesday’s protests occurred a day after teachers from all education facilities gathered in the state of Manipur, reports NTD TV
. The hundreds of teachers, professors and instructors went on a hunger strike and vowed to die until they get better pay.
“Since we are in India, the policy adopted should be that of the Government of India because we have to believe in one nation and one policy,” said Teacher’s Association President, Randhoni Dev.
In the meantime, all classes in the state have been suspended.