ECONOMIC TRENDS

PRICE TRENDS

The study of the general level of prices is of importance because it helps to understand the economic condition of the people. Fluctuations in the level of prices is one of the most significant phenomena of our times. Hence it is of immense interest to study the salient trends in the price level.

The Khandesh District Gazetteer published in 1880 gave very valuable information about the trends of prices during the period 1788 to 1879, which is reproduced below.

"The returns of produce prices stretch over an unusually long series of years. They belong to two main sets, one for the thiity-three years ending 1820, prepared for the Amalner, Erandol and Nandurbar sub-divisions in 1820 under Captain Briggs' orders, and the other for the forty-six years ending 1878, compiled by the Dhulia mamlatdar from records and grain dealers' accounts. Between the two sets of returns is break of three years (1821 to 1823).

"The first set of thirty-three years includes three periods, one of ten years 1788 to 1797, one of twenty years 1798 to 1817, and one of three years 1818 to 1820. The first period, from 1788 to 1797, was a time of very cheap grain, with the rupee price of Indian millet, Jvari, ranging from 210 pounds in Erandol to 280 pounds in Amalner, and averaging 245 pounds. The second period, from 1798 to 1817, was, apart from the great 1802-3 famine when millet rose to about four pounds the rupee, a time of dearer grain, with millet prices ranging from 129 pounds in Amalner to 140 in Nandurbar and averaging 135 pounds. In the three years ending 1820, produce prices rose most markedly, Indian millet, jvari, varying from sixty-three pounds in Amalner to ninety-four pounds in Erandol and averaging seventy-six pounds. The following statement gives the chief available details.

KHANDESH PRODUCE PRICES (POUNDS THE RUPEE) 1788-1820.

 

First Period

Second Period

1788-1797

1798-1817

Article

Amalner

Erandol

Nandurbar

Average

Amalner

Erandol

Nadurbar

Average

Indian Millet

 280

210

245

245

129

136

140

135

Millet

 227

245

210

227

105

122

133

120

Wheat

 210

140

175

175

66

66

80

70

Rice

122

105

87

101

42

38

38

39

continued..

 

Third Period

1818-1820

Article

Amalner

Erandol

Nandurbar

Average

Indian Millet

63

94

73

76

Millet

56

73

70

66

Wheat

45

45

56

48

Rice

28

32

24

28

1821-1879: -"The years 1821, 1822 and 1823, for which no returns are available, are spoken of as a period of tillage and lower prices than had been known for thirty years. Then followed one or two seasons (1824-1826) of scarcity nearly amounting to famine, with Indian millet ruling at from seventy-four to seventy-nine pounds, or about as high as in 1817. The fifty three years since 1826 may be divided into five periods. Six years of cheap grain (1827-1832) with Indian millet ranging from ninety to 144 pounds and averaging about 117; four years of scarcity (1833-1836) with Indian millet varying from sixty -two to seventy-three pounds and averaging sixty-six; eighteen years (1837-1854), excluding the scarcity years of 1838-39 and 1845-46, of low prices with Indian millet ranging from eighty to 168 and averaging about 116 pounds; and thirteen years (1855-1867) of high prices, partly owing to several seasons of short crops and partly to the American war and the introduction of railways and public works, with prices varying from thirty-two to eighty-four and averaging fifty-four pounds. In the twelve years that have since passed (1868-1879), Indian millet prices have varied from seventy to 24 and averaged about forty-six pounds. The tendency in these years has been to a fall in prices. But this tendency has been more than met by four bad harvests followed by almost famine prices, in 1868, 1871, 1876, and 1877. The following statement shows the available details of the prices of the chief cereals and pulses, and of cotton, between 1824 and 1879.

Captain Briggs [Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency, Khandesh District, 1880, pp. 202-04.] returns for the first set of thirty-three years (1788-1820) include some interesting particulars of the prices of fowls,

KHANDESH PRODUCE PRICES (POUNDS THE RUPEE),  1824-1879

Article

Years of Scarcity

First Period

1824

1825

1826

1827

1828

1829

1830

1831

1832

Indian millet

74

76

79

90

115

144

93

118

144

Wheat

1st sort

56

52

49

52

47

44

62

64

66

2nd sort

58

56

50

53

48

59

63

66

67

Rice

1st sort

22

18

15

17

21

191

19

23

27

2nd sort

26

24

17

28

23

23

21

28

31

Pulse, tur

42

39

37

45

63

48

37

41

45

Raw cotton

10

10

10

14

18

14

10

11

12

continued..

Second Period

Third Period

1833

1834

1835

1836

1837

1838

1839

1840

1841

1842

67

73

62

62

102

121

80

102

109

94

51

45

43

56

62

79

494

49

60

60

53

48

46

58

70

88

56

56

68

64

22

18

20

22

24

32

20

24

24

26

23

21

24

24

26

36

22

26

26

28

39

28

33

45

46

41

30

37

49

44

10

8

6

8

8

16

10

16

12

12

continued..

Article

Third Period

1843

1844

1845

1846

1847

1848

1849

1850

Indian millet

--

88

103

91

38

1 14

171

134

85

Wheat 

1st sort

60

82

68

33

35

72

63

58

2nd sort

64

83

70

34

39

78

65

66

Rice

1st sort

24

26

33

24

22

21

27

27

2nd sort

30

28

35

26

24

24

31

31

Pulse, tur

44

56

32

21

35

46

51

35

Raw cotton

12

10

8

13

13

!6

16

10

continued...

Third period

Fourth period

1851

1852

1853

1854

1855

1856

1857

1858

1859

1860

1861

130

154

124

168

76

84

72

56

56

48

32

62

66

62

66

60

56

36

38

32

30

28

62

68

63

68

62

58

38

40

34

32

32

28

30

28

30

28

28

24

16

12

14

17

29

32

29

34

32

32

30

18

16

16

19

38

52

48

48

46

48

32

22

24

22

24

10

12

10

12

8

8

8

8

9

9

8

continued..

Article

Fourth Period-contd.

Fifth Period

1862

1863

1864

1865

1866

1867

1868

1869

Indian millet

52

48

35

42

56

42

70

24

Wheat

1st sort

30

28

26

20

26

28

32

17

2nd sort

33

30

28

28

30

29

34

18

Rice

1st sort

16

10

14

10

11

11

17

12

2nd sort

19

13

15

13

13

14

20

13

Pulse, tur

18

24

17

14

14

16

28

17

Raw cotton

6

4

4

5

5

5

3

2

continued...

Fifth Period-contd.

1870

1871

1872

1873

1874

1875

1876

1877

1878

1879

44

37

50

60

63

61

47

27

28⅜

31

20

29

26

47

39

34

34

22

17

19

22

30

28

48

40

36

36

23

17⅛

21

15

13

15

17

16 7/16

16 7/16

16

14

11

14

20

18

18

21

21

21

21

20

15

17

16

22

19

24

24

32

29

194

14⅜

16

4

4

4

6

6

5

5

5

5

5

chickens and eggs. From these returns it would seem that on an average during the first of his three periods (1788-1797), fowls sold at 3d. (2 annas) a piece, chickens at 2d. (12/3 annas), and eggs at about seven for a penny (8 pies). In the second period (1798-1817) the average price of fowls rose to about 5d. (3g annas), of chickens to about 3d. (2 1/6 annas), and of eggs to five for a penny (8 pies). The current (1880) prices of these three articles in the three sub-divisions, Amalner, Erandol and Nandurbar, to which the old returns refer, are for a fowl from 3d. to 1s. (2-8 annas), for a chicken from 1. to 4 (l-3annas), and for eggs about three for a penny (8 pies),"*

Apart from temporary and seasonal fluctuations in prices there have been strikingly permanent changes in the purchasing power of the Indian rupee since the onset of this century. The purchasing power of the rupee has been on the decline since the commencement of hostilities during the First World War. Prices of all goods were very high during the War, and the same trend continued till the Great Depression of 1930. The Depression which slumped down the economies of the U. S. A., the U. K., France and Germany had an adverse effect on the prices of primary commodities in the international markets. The slump in the prices led to a momentous fall in the prices as well as demand for Indian goods. This had an inevitable effect on the Indian economy. The downward trend of prices continued till 1933, after which the trend was reverted. The Second World War brought about a sharp rise in prices from 1939. The shortage of consumers goods and increase in the supply of money in circulation permitted the prices to rise continuously. The cessation of hostilities in 1945 brought down the level of commodity prices slightly. This was however a temporary phase. The Korean War boom caused the rise in prices of all commodities in the international markets. These international fluctuations in prices were clearly reflected in the Indian economy which in turn affected the economy of Dhulia district from time to time.

After the Korean boom there was a slight recession in prices, but it was only short lived. The year 1952-53 witnessed a rise of agricultural prices because of scarcity conditions in the district.

The period between 1952 and 1958 did not show a consistent trend of prices. The harvest conditions during 1953-54, 1954-55 and 1955-56 were quite satisfactory. This kept the prices of agricultural commodities well under control. Prices however started rising from the year 1956-57 and registered a high level in 1959-60. The good harvest conditions during 1960-61 and 1961-62 brought down the prices below the 1959-60 level.

Table No. 1 gives the trend of wholesale prices of principal agricultural commodities at Nandurbar market during the period between 1948-49 and 1960-61.

Table No. 2 gives the monthly trend of wholesale prices of agricultural commodities at Dhulia market during 1958-59, 1961-62 and 1962-63.

TABLE No. 1

AVERAGE WHOLESALE PRICES AT NANDURBAR MARKET DURING 1948.61

(Prices in Rs. per maund)

 

1948-49

1949-50

1950-51

1951-52

1952-53

1953-54

1954-55

1. Cotton

37.00

39.50

40.00

35.00

34.00

32.00

23.00

2. Groundnut seed

29.50

35.00

33.50

26.56

23.00

--

18.50

3.Groundnut

20.00

22.50

23.75

18.50

22.00

18.12

11.50

4. Tur

17.50

15.00

19.70

19.19

16.50

11.12

  9.25

5. Gram

20.25

19.00

15.60

16.25

22.50

16.50

10.00

6. Mug

--

--

20.25

21.50

19.50

13.50

  9.50

7. Udid

--

--

21.00

18.25

20.25

14.50

  8.25

8. Math

--

--

20.00

18.19

17.50

10.50

  7.50

9. Chilli (wet)

--

--

12.30

15.37

14.50

31.50

16.50

10. Chilli (dry)

--

--

60.75

27.69

48.50

72.00

25.00

11. Gul

--

--

21.00

14.19

18.50

19.50

12.50

12. Wheat

--

--

--

--

--

16.00

14.25

13. Jowar

--

--

--

--

--

10.50

  7.50

14. Bajri

--

--

--

--

--

12.00

  9.50

contd.

 

1955-56

1956-57

1957-58

1958-59

1959-60

1960-61

1. Cotton

30.50

31.00

34.00

33.20

39.00

38.00

2. Groundnut seed

22.00

27.25

30.00

27.69

39.00

38.00

3.Groundnut

18.50

19.50

18.50

20.12

24.00

27.00

4. Tur

13.50

15.50

16.50

21.00

17.50

16.60

5. Gram

13.00

14.00

14.00

19.20

16.00

17.25

6. Mug

15.50

15.50

17.50

20.70

17.00

20.00

7. Udid

17.50

17.00

16.00

15.50

16.00

18.00

8. Math

  9.50

10.50

13.50

15.75

14.00

18.00

9. Chilli (wet)

21.00

22.50

17.50

26.07

31.00

22.00

10. Chilli (dry)

38.50

45.00

38.50

60.20

70.00

40.00

11. Gul

12.50

14.00

14.00

19.65

20.50

14.00

12. Wheat

16.50

17.75

16.50

24.40

22.25

18.00

13. Jowar

13.25

16.25

13.00

13.38

15.50

13.50

14. Bajri

12.75

18.50

14.00

15.30

17.00

17.00

TABLE No, 2

 AVERAGE WHOLESALE PRICES OF IMPORTANT COMMODITIES AT DHULIA MARKET IN 1958-59, 1961-62 AND 1962-63.

(Prices in Rs. per maund)

Month

Cotton

Groundnut

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

September

--

--

--

21. 44

--

17.60

October

23.19

42.00

54.60

14.19

17.60

18.00

November

30.87

44.00

51.00

16.75

21.00

21.60

December

33.80

44.60

46.00

15.00

27.80

24.80

January

31.75

45.60

46.80

19.56

28.40

24.00

February

28.87

45.20

47.40

20.75

. 30.00

25.00

March

28.81

44.00

46.20

21.56

30.00

25.20

April

27.44

39.20

41.20

22.44

29.60

26.40

May

29.44

39.20

46.00

24.00

28.00

28.60

June

20.25

42.00

40.00

22.73

27.20

30.40

July

--

--

--

21.35

28.00

30.40

August

--

--

--

21.20

30.80

30.40

TABLE No. 2-contd.

Udid

Math

1958.59

1961-62'

1962-63

1958-59

1961-62

1962.63

17.31

20.30

30.60

18.50

24.80

16.00

57.25

20.00

27. 80

--

--

14.00

16.50

21.00

27.20

16.62

22.00

15.00

16.69

20.60

23.60

15.00

19.20

14.60

16.31

22.00

24.80

14.50

17.60

16.00

1700

23.20

25.00

15.31

17.90

18.00

16.25

22.00

23. 40

15.37

17.20

16.40

16.00

22.00

27.40

15.12

16.00

16.60

16.19

25. 60

27.40

15.31

16.00

17.40

16.22

27.20

27.40

16.70

16.80

17.20

16.75

28.40

24.00

16.00

16.40

15.00

16.35

30.40

26.60

14.45

16.00

14.20

TABLE No. 2-contd.

Month

Mug

Sesemum

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

September

 20.94

15.40

21.20

32.75

38. 10

40.60

October

 15.44

16.00

21.00

33.75

40.00

41.60

November

 20.75

17.00

22.80

30.94

41.00

41.00

December

 18.69

18.60

22.00

32.00

45.60

37.60

January

 18.56

18.00

24.20

32.00

48.00

36.00

February

 19.50

20.00

22.00

31.50

47.00

31.00

March

 20.12

19.60

19.40

31.94

47.60

34.00

April

 18.44

22.00

17.80

31.44

48.00

36.00

May

 21.94

23.60

23.40

33.56

47.20

34.40

June

 22.64

21.20

27.60

34.03

46.20

35.00

July

 15.45

20.40

21.00

32.70

46.00

38.00

August

 19.40

20.40

19.60

31.60

46. 00

38.20

TABLE No. 2-contd.

Wheat

Jowar

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

22.37

19.00

20.60

12.87

12.80

17.60

33.75

20.00

20.80

11.37

11.40

17.20

21.12

21.00

20.20

11. 00

14.00

14.80

27.37

21.60

19.60

12.06

12.00

14.20

26.25

22.00

20.00

12.50

13.60

13.60

24.69

23. 00

20.00

12.50

15.00

12.00

23.50

22.00

20.00

12.37

14.80

12. 00

21.50

21.00

19.20

12.19

14.80

12.20

23.81

20.40

20.20

13.12

15.60

12.80

23.87

20. 00

20.00

13.89

16.00

13.20

25.20

20.40

20.00

14.00

17.20

12.40

24.85

20.80

20.00

13. 95

17.60

11.80

TABLE No. 2-contd.

Month

Bajra

Gur

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

September

 13.87

18.70

19.60

18.87

14.50

26.00

October

 14.37

18.00

18.80

14.44

13.50

26.80

November

 15.00

18.50

18.80

17.37

15.00

25.80

December

 16.00

19.60

17.60

17.25

17.20

25.60

January

 15.06

19.00

17.60

17.00

16. 00

22.80

February

 15.56

18.40

17.00

19.56

15. 00

24.00

March

 15.50

19.20

16.40

19.37

16.00

25.00

April

 14.75

18.80

16.20

21.75

18.00

27.20

May

 16.44

18.40

16.20

24.69

20.00

33.00

June

 15.50

18.00

16.80

24.15

21.60

37.60

July

 17.00

20.00

16.60

24.45

25.50

39.40

August

 16.10

20.00

16.00

24.65

28.80

40.60

TABLE No. 2-contd

Wei Chilli

Dry Chilli

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

1958-59

1961-62

1962-63

--

--

--

61.50

35.60

84.80

--

10.20

--

72.62

36.40

106.00

--

10.00

26.40

81.75

37.00

112.00

18.25

10.40

17.20

68.50

44.00

92.00

15.87

14.80

20.40

80.25

55.40

92.80

18.91

17.00

17.00

82.00

67.00

81.00

16.31

15.20

18.00

71. 19

64.00

75.00

21.25

--

--

82.50

75.20

97.00

--

--

--

81.44

72.80

103.40

--

--

--

97.78

83.00

112.00

--

--

--

103.30

79.20

105.00

--

--

--

95.95

80.20

90. 00

Table No. 3 gives the most common wholesale prices of agricultural produce at the Dhulia, Doudaicha, Nandurbar, Shirpur and Nawapur markets during 1963-64.

TABLE No. 3

MOST COMMON WHOLESALE PRICES AT PRINCIPAL MARKETS IN DHULIA DISTRICT DURING 1963-64.

Serial No.

Name of the Commodity

Name of the Market Committee

Dhulia*

Dondaicha

Nandurbar

Shirpur

Nawapur

1

Cotton 197.3
Cotton Co 2

48.27 62.40

109.97
--

121.89
--

45.07*
--

133.34
--

3

Groundnut

31.45

75.38

75.25

31.74*

69.74

4

Gram

22.46

57.68

59.67

55.87

61.98

5

Mug

27.36

59.73

65.36

71.39

--

6

Udid

25.23

57.75

58.83

60.93

56.29

7

Math

20.88

47.45

50.12

51.07

--

8

Chilli (wet)

20.40

68.03

79.85

 

--

9

Chilli (dry)

82.75

133.90

134.18

71.70*

--

10

Gul

37.88

89.15

91.90

41.45

--

11

Wheat

29.37

77.02

72.75

73.50

64.06

12

Jowar

16.19

42.90

45.08

46.18

40.49

13

Bajri

19.44

46.28

47.33

47.00

--

14

Tur

--

63.69

67.83

58.87

67.22

*Prices in Rs. per maund for all commodities in Dhulia and those marked* in Shirpur. Rest of the prices are in Rs. per quintal.

The prices of all commodities started rising from the middle of 1964, and continued to do so upto the harvest season, when they registered a slight fall. After a short interval the prices again rose steadily. The Indo. Pakistan War of September 1965 also contributed immensely towards the subsequent inflationary pressure. The shortage of consumers goods, scarcity and famine conditions in several parts of the country and rising wages of the organised working class led to a considerable rise in prices. As a matter of fact the inflationary situation developed into a crisis. Devaluation of the Indian rupee in June 1966 added considerably to the inflationary pressure. The cost of manufactured goods and imports increased to a great extent. This had an adverse effect on the prices of producers as well as consumers goods which rose sharply. The increasing level of commodity taxation also added to the price spurt from time to time.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in the district. The class of landless labourers comprises a large number of workers viz. 2,32,913. This necessitates a careful study of wage trends in agricultural pursuits and allied occupations.

 

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