Two key indicators released by the government — the consumer price index and industrial production figures that reflect the state of the economy — offer both good and bad news. It’s bad news for retail consumers with essentials like fuel, fruits, cereals and vegetables at a four-month high. The hole in their pockets may only grow in the next few months. Some relief may come if there’s a normal monsoon, but oil prices, dependent on the whims of oil producing countries, will fuel the price rise. One can only reiterate the hope that the government works seriously to make India less reliant on imported fuel. It now imports nearly 80 per cent of its fuel needs. The best minds in the country must work together to make this possible through exploitation of renewable energy sources. India is blessed with much sunshine for most of the year; yet solar power isn’t being fully tapped. India is said to be among the largest producers of energy from renewable sources, but now has only 20 per cent of total installed capacity. This may be better than the rest of the world’s record, but the comparison is irrelevant. It should be benchmarked against India’s resources and capabilities, and the failure of the authorities in charge of this sector isn’t forgivable.
The good news on the production front is welcome as it means more jobs and more purchasing power in the hands of people. Production, bolstered by demand, grew to 4.9 per cent in April after a five-month low in March. But we need to push growth in agriculture, fishing and mining which have witnessed low growth.