Monday, February 8, 2010

not only pawar entire govt is responsible for inflation

8 Feb 2010


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Why inflation zooms up whenever Congress comes to power and economist Dr Manmohan Singh is at the helm of affairs? Inflation was in double digit during the 1991-95 Congress Raj when Singh was the country's finance minister. Now again food inflation has touched 20 per cent after 11 years.

This is the poser by Bhartiya Janata Party President Nitin Gadkari who gave an hour-long presentation of "Mahangai ka Mahaghotala" (big scam of inflation) to the media, backed with data to assert that the prices shooting up despite bumper crops only show the Congress-led UPA government's "total failure" on the food front.

His presentation comes just two days after the Centre convened a meeting of the chief ministers and state food ministers here on Saturday to discuss steps for stemming the inflation. He said all the data he presented is available with the government and yet it failed to take right steps at right time.

He said Sharad Pawar was "definitely" responsible as Agriculture and Food Minister for the muddle of mismanagement and manipulation in allowing the prices go sky-ward, "but he is not alone responsible, it is collective responsibility as he cannot take decisions without the Cabinet approval."

The PM is equally responsible, Gadkari affirmed, adding that it is his duty to find out if Pawar or anybody in the government has gained from the inflation. In BJP's view, the definite beneficiaries are multinationals and corporates, manipulators, speculators and black marketeers, he said.

Taunting the Congress for its slogan "Congress ka haath, Garibon ke saath," he said it turns out to be the hand on the poor's throat (garibon ke gala pakadne ka haath).

He said it is wrong to blame the state governments for inflation as all that they can do is to prevent anybody hoarding stocks beyond prescribed limits while import and export, commodity exchanges and other authorities involved in price control are all vested with the Centre.

Demanding a probe into manipulation of the commodity exchanges to jack up food prices, he asked immediate removal of food articles from the forward trading list of the commodity exchanges. Other demands he made on behalf of the BJP to contain price rise included creation of buffer stock, bring down prices of wheat, rice, sugar and pulses, monitor and act against hoarders, black marketeers and multinational and corporate manipulation and profiteering.

He attributed spurt in potato price to its inclusion in the list of forward trading and said this inclusion is reflection of how the commodity exchanges are misused in India.

Gadkari asked the government to stop its economic policy that robs farmers and loots "Aam Admi" (common man) and reeled out statistics of the last three years to show how the farmers did not benefit while the common man paid through nose at three times the price paid to the farmer. Just a sample: Farmer was paid Rs 10 a kilo for rice in 2009 while its retail price to consumer was Rs 32 a kilo; farmers got Rs 10.50 a kilo for wheat while consumer paid Rs 24 a kilo and farmers sold sugarcane equivalent to sugar at Rs 14 to 18 a kilo while its retail price shot up to Rs 50 a kilo.

The BJP president talked of a sugar scam in import-export manipulations as 48 lakh tonnes were exported in 2008-09 at Rs 12.50 a kilo and now importing raw sugar at Rs 36 a kilo. Besides the government gave export and transport subsidy to exporters. If the money had been given to sugar factories as soft loan, the government would have created buffer stock of sugar, he said.



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