It is a mystery how the government sets about increasing the price of cigarettes and alcohol. A cigarette that is Rs.16 today becomes Rs. 18 overnight.
Our price control system is ludicrous. The government gets away with it time and again. As with any other consumer item, the general public should be forewarned of any price hike on cigarettes and alcohol. There really is something called regulatory price control.
You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out who is making the quick buck here. We have heard that those in high places who are in the know share information about upcoming price hikes with the highest bidders, and that the bids go into millions of rupees.
The lucky bidder then stockpiles container-loads of cigarettes and booze at the old price and sells it to you the next day at the new price.
It is an established fact that governments in this country derive a considerable part of their revenue from the sale of cigarettes and alcohol.
I was recently shocked to learn that the same happens with milk powder products for infants. One parent told me that you learn about the price increases “only when you get to the supermarket”.
We assume there is a Consumer Protection Authority in this country. Who then can check these surprise price hikes?