Take essential goods off commodities exchange: BJP (Lead)January 31st, 2010 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Jan 31 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday hit out at the government for soaring food prices and asked it to immediately take off essential goods from the commodities exchange.
At his his first visit to Karnataka after becoming the BJP president, Nitin Gadkiri criticized Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government’s “wrong economic policies” for a situation that has come under widespread attack.
He told reporters here that while the prime minister was promising double-digit GDP growth soon, “food inflation is growing at high double-digit (17-20 percent)”.
“The government should take out 17 essential commodities permanently off the commodities exchange where speculation and manipulation are resulting in soaring food prices,” Gadkari said.
The BJP chief blamed the government’s export-import policy for the steep rise in sugar prices.
He said the export and transport subsidy given to sugar mills was to blame for the steep fall in sugar buffer stock.
“India exported 4.8 million tonnes of sugar in 2008-09 at Rs.20 a kg after paying farmers Rs.12.5 a kg. Now the country is importing raw sugar at Rs.36 a kg,” he said.
Similarly, 10 million tonnes of rice were exported at Rs.18-20 a kg after paying the farmers Rs.8-10 a kg. Now rice costs Rs.32 a kg, Gadkari said.
“The UPA government’s skewed economic policies were beneficial to MNCs, corporates and big companies whose profits have multiplied by hundreds of percentage,” he said.
Demanding immediate introduction of food security-for-all bill in parliament, and creation of buffer stock of wheat, rice, pulses and edible oils, Gadkari promised his party’s support in this regard.
He called for stringent action against profiteering, hoarding and black marketing in essential commodities.
Noting that “since November 2009 prices of 17 essential commodities, especially rice, wheat, pulses, sugar and edible oils, have doubled,” Gadkari said that 78 percent of the country’s population was spending about 80 percent of monthly income on food articles alone.
Inflation rate that was negative in August 2009 (minus one percent) has shot up to 7.8 percent now, and the country was heading again for double-digit inflation by March 2010, he said.
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