New Delhi: Government on Wednesday came under attack in the Lok Sabha over rising prices with the opposition
questioning the efficacy of steps to address the problem but
ruling Congress countered the charge by attributing inflation
to global conditions.
Leading the opposition charge, former Finance Minister
and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha contended the situation had
become unbearable for common people and reached a stage where
the government has to be told to `Go, for God`s sake, Go`.
Initiating the debate on rising prices, he slammed the
government`s argument that high growth will entail inflation,
saying such a growth was not acceptable to people.
"We will not accept inflation of more than three per
cent," he said after moving a resolution on price rise.
The opposition had been pressing for a discussion on
price rise in the backdrop of the inflation which stood at 9.4
per cent in June and is likely to remain high till November.
Hitting out at Congress which came to power on the
`aam aadmi` plank, Sinha alleged government policies have
helped profiteers, blackmarketeers, hoarders and the corrupt
to "loot" the common man of an additional Rs six lakh crore in
the past three years.
Defending the government, Law Minister Salman Khurshid
attributed high inflation to increasing prices of crude oil in
the international market.
The government had taken a number of fiscal measures like
reducing import duties, suspended futures trading in rice and
certain pulses to rein in prices, he said.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will reply to the
"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? The poorest of the
poor at the bottom strata of our society does not understand
high GDP growth at 8-9 per cent," Yashwant Sinha said.
"As Oliver Cromwell told a British Prime Minister in his
time `Go, for God`s sake. In the name of God, Go, Go`, this
House will tell you the same and will not tolerate" if the
government failed to check rising prices, the BJP leader said
referring to the famous words of the English statesman to
Parliament in 1653.
Making a strong plea for firmly bringing corruption
under control, Sinha was critical of the anti-poverty schemes
including UPA`s flagship NREGA saying there were massive
irregularities in its implementation.
"In such a situation, you will not be able to control
prices," he said, adding faulty implementation of schemes like
NREGA would lead to corruption and conspicuous consumption.
He criticised moves to bring FDI in retail sector,
warning it was "fraught with dangerous consequences" for the
country as US companies like WalMart were known to have
"destroyed" farmers and small retailers in the US and Mexico.
Khurshid admitted inflation was on the rise since
December last year but attributed it to the increase in the
petroleum prices globally.
He said several other growing economies like Sri Lanka,
China, Russia and Argentina were also witnessing high
inflation in the range of six to 20 per cent.
Dismissing the opposition charge that the government
was pursuing growth at any cost, Khurshid said "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`.