The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet has increased the wheat support price to Rs 1,200 per 40 Kg from Rs 1,052, without consulting Punjab, which is its largest producer as well as largest consumer. It would have been better if the provincial government had been on board. This might be good for farmers and cartels who will be easily able to make money but not for the common man who will be hit by increased levels of inflation. Flour price in the market will shoot up as a first consequence, inevitably raising the prices of other goods.

There could have been other ways of giving relief to the farmers, which could have included controlling the prices of inputs like diesel and fertilizer. It is little wonder that the step will be seen as an attempt by the PPP to get in the good books of the rural population to bolster its chances of getting votes. It would be in the fitness of things if Punjab, the breadbasket of the country, is consulted on such matters so that while the farmers get the benefit, the poor masses embroiled in a daily struggle to arrange a meal, the most basic of the food items, is also not affected.