The Centre on Wednesday rejected the Opposition criticism over rising prices. Union minister for Food and Consumer Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan said the government has taken steps to rein in price rise and that states, too, should play their part by cutting taxes and cracking down on hoarders. He was replying to a short-duration discussion on price rise.
To bolster his claims, Paswan read out market prices of different food items. According to him, a kilogram of rice cost Rs 27.05 as against Rs 27.88 last year. Similarly, he said, tea was Rs 197 per kg as compared to Rs 206 last year. He described the rise in prices of onions and potatoes as being “seasonal” and justified the increase, saying even money deposited in banks appreciates over time. The minister, however, was repeatedly heckled by the Opposition, especially the Congress.
The CPM and Trinamool Congress blamed the government squarely for the inflation saying that it hasn’t slashed oil prices to pass on the benefit directly to the consumer. “When this government came to power, crude oil was available for $106 per barrel and it’s now available for $40 per barrel. That apart, the government has imposed new kinds of cess on the common man. All this adds to the inflation,” said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury. The Congress later staged a walkout in protest.