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Opposition takes on government as Lok Sabha debates rising prices

Thursday December 08, 2011 05:04:35 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The government was at the receiving end of opposition MPs Thursday when the Lok Sabha began discussing spiralling prices of food items because of which the country's poor were suffering.

Initiating the debate, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the prices of essential commodities were spiralling because of the government's "failure to contain inflation".

"Rising price of essential commodities reflects abject failure of the government. Our expectations have not been fulfilled," Dasgupta told the house.

"Price is incessant over years and the government inaction is also persisting," the Leftist leader said, inviting thunderous applause from opposition MPs.

He took on the Planning Commission and ridiculed its statement that people were eating more and that caused food inflation.

"In a country with maximum number of poor people it says that people are eating more and it has led to increase in food inflation," he said.

He said India was the only country was on the cusp of recession because the government had failed to manage the food market.

Congress MP P.C. Chako said the concerns expressed by the opposition were "genuine" but defended the government and said blaming it was inappropriate.

"Spiraling inflation has slowly taken into grip the global economy and we are not isolated. The government has taken several measures, which includes imposing a ban on sugar and onion exports, to increase production and productivity. This is the reason why inflation has come down significantly in the recent months," Chacko said.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj also lashed out at the government saying the government's explanation was not enough to curb the inflation.

She showed a bill of the ration she had bought from one of the Kendriya Bhandar shops, a consumer cooperative society run by the government.

"You should tell the house and the people what is real cause of rising prices. I have a bill of Kendriya Bhandar. It says salt Rs.13 per kilogram, atta Rs.18 per kilogram and onions Rs.25 per kilogram. Look at it now from a poor man's point of view. If a person wants to eat simple roti and onion he will have to spend Rs.56," Sushma Swaraj said.

"The prises have risen because of your wrong economic policies," she said, urging Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to find an immediate solution to the crisis and stop making technical statements.

"Your reply was too technical and you have tried to catch a common man in the web of figures and percentages who is already caught in a web of inflation," she said.

Intervening in the debate, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said India's food inflation has fallen sharply to 6.60 percent for the week ended Nov 26 as compared to eight percent in the previous week as onions, potatos, vegetables and wheat had became cheaper.

The debate was allowed by Speaker Meira Kumar under Rule 193 that doesn't entail voting.









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