Curb inflation or ‘go’, opposition slams government (Roundup)

August 3rd, 2011 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Opposition parties led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday tore into the government over the issue of spiralling prices, saying corruption was the root cause of inflation and warned that it might be forced to tell the government to “go, for god’s sake” if it failed to curb high prices.

But the government blamed the high cost of food grains and essential commodities on the increasing prices of petroleum in the global market and said that it was making efforts to curb inflation through fiscal measures such as reducing import duties and suspending futures trading on rice and certain pulses.

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha of the BJP moved a motion in the Lok Sabha that expressed “deep concern” over price rise and warned that it may be forced to ask the government to “go, for God’s sake” if it failed to check inflation that adversely impacted the common man’s finances.

“Corruption is the biggest cause of price rise,” Sinha said, moving the motion.

Initiating the debate on price rise in the Lok Sabha, Sinha said the key to checking price rise was containing food inflation and checking corruption.

“Despite repeated discussions on price rise in the house, the burden of price rise on the common man is continuing. 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 motion read.

The motion has the consent of the government too and has been so worded that the Congress-led alliance can also associate itself with it. Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta, though, moved an amendment to it that was severely critical of the government.

Interestingly, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a member of the Rajya Sabha, was present in the Lok Sabha when Sinha moved the motion and began the debate. The government will reply Thursday to the special debate.

Sinha, who led the charge against the government, told the house: “We will not accept inflation of more than three per cent.”

He also trashed the Congress for its ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) election plank, saying the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government policies helped only profiteers, blackmarketeers, hoarders and the corrupt to “loot” the common man.

“We totally reject the theory that growth is required at any cost. Growth for what? To dispossess the poor and push them further into the vortex of poverty,” he asked.

The government fielded Law Minister Salman Khursheed against the opposition onslaught, who dismissed charges that development was being pursued at all costs.

“We have learnt a great deal from the prime minister on growth strategies but we have never heard the concept of growth at any rate. We have to ensure enough growth that can allow us to help the poor. We do not believe in growth at any rate,” Khursheed said.

Admitting that inflation was going northwards since December 2010, he listed reducing import duties, suspending futures trading in rice and certain pulses as the fiscal measures to rein in prices.

Over 20 MPs from both the ruling UPA and the opposition, including Janata Dal United’s Sharad Yadav, Samajwadi Party’s Shailendra Kumar, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Dara Singh, AIADMK’s M. Thambidurai, Congress’ K.S. Rao, DMK’s T.K.S. Elangovan spoke on the motion.

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