BJP blames UPA's 'wrong policies' for price rise

Addressing a press conference in Bangalore, BJP National President Nitin Gadkari blamed the “wrong economic policies” of the UPA government for the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and double-digit food inflation.

He claimed that shifting of 17 essential commodities to commodity exchange and failure to create sufficient buffer stock had resulted in high inflation of food articles. Armed with Right to Information Act replies by various departments, replies made by ministers in Parliament and also extracts from various official documents, Gadkari made a 30-minute power point presentation to drive home his argument that inflation was going out of control. “Slowly and steadily Indian food security is being pledged to foreign multi-nationals and commodity exchange players,” Gadkari charged at his first press meet in Bangalore after taking over as BJP president.

Reeling out statistics, Gadkari attributed the steep rise in rice prices to the Government’s export-import policy. The country witnessed a bumper crop of rice of 991 lakh tonnes in 2009, yet consumers are shelling out Rs 32 per kg to purchase the cereal grain.

Instead of enhancing the buffer stock, the UPA government had allowed100 lakh tonnes of rice to be exported at Rs 18-Rs 20 per kg with disastrous results. Similarly, export and transport subsidy given to sugar mills was responsible for the steep fall in sugar buffer stock. India exported 48 lakh tonnes of sugar in 2008-2009 at Rs 12.5 per kg, after paying a meagre amount to farmers.

The country was now importing raw sugar at Rs 42 per kg from Brazil. Gadkari charged that while both farmers and consumers were losing out, MNCs, black marketers and big companies were making a fast buck.

He demanded that the Government should take out 17 essential commodities permanently off the commodities exchange where speculation and manipulation was resulting in food prices soaring. He  assured his party’s full support to the government in this regard.

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