An opposition motion expressing concern over price rise was
defeated in the Lok Sabha Thursday, even as Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee assured all steps to tame inflation but said
there was no need to temper growth for that.
Amid division following voice a vote, Speaker Meira Kumar declared
the motion -- moved by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and
former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and Janata Dal-United
leader -- as defeated by 320 votes to 51.
"That despite repeated discussions on price rise in the house, the
burden of price rise on the common man is continuing," Meira Kumar
said, reading the motion, after it was put to a voice vote and
"Expressing deep concern over price rise, this house calls upon
the government to take immediate effective steps to check
inflation that will give relief to the common man," the speaker
added from the motion, while putting it for division.
Earlier, replying to the debate Thursday, Mukherjee sought to
assure parliament that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government
was taking all possible steps to tackle price rise, but said there
was no need to moderate growth in a bid to tame inflation.
"There is no inherent contradiction between inflation and growth,"
Mukherjee said in reply to a debate in the Lok Sabha, the lower
house of parliament, on an opposition motion that expresed deep
concern over price rise.
The finance minister said in the 1980s, India's gross domestic
product (GDP) growth averaged slightly above 5 percent, and around
6 percent in the 1990s, which figures were relatively low compared
with the growth of around 8-8.5 percent now.
"Was inflation low at that time? No!" Mukherjee said, adding
several steps were needed to tame inflation and that the house --
both the members of the treasury and opposition -- must
collectively ensure these measures are allowed to be taken.
His comments came against the backdrop of India's annual rate of
inflation based on wholesale prices inching up to 9.44 percent for
June from 9.06 percent for the week before and opposition's demand
that the government either tames price rise or quits.
Sinha, a former finance minister himself, had Wednesday said the
opposition will not remain a mute spectator to price rise that was
imposing a huge burden on the average citizen. "This house will
not tolerate it and say go, go."
Mukherjee said at least four important bills, including those on
insurance, pension and goods and service tax, were pending before
the house and said the cooperation of all the members,
irrespective of the parties they represented, was required to see
"You can't say nothing has been done," the finance minister said
on opposition charges that the government was ineffective in
taking action against price rise. "Something has been done. Tell
us, something more has to be done and we will fully agree."
Mukherjee said it was also not proper to say people were dying of
starvation, adding not only had the government constantly
increased procurent prices to help farmers, but was also giving
wheat and rice to all the needy at heavily subsidised rates.