Govt says it is ‘observing’ situation; and ‘farmers’ interest must be ensured’.
New Delhi: With retail inflation hitting a six-year high, the Congress Party on Tuesday demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi immediately convene an all-party meeting and give a roadmap on how he would address the issue. The government, on its part, said was “observing” everything and had to ensure the farmers’ interests as well.
The attack by the Congress began early Tuesday morning with a tweet from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who tweeted on the spiralling prices of vegetables and essential goods that is hitting the poor.
“The prices of vegetables and other edible commodities is getting out of reach of the common man. What will the poor eat when vegetables, oil, pulses and flour turns expensive. The poor are not even getting employment due to the economic recession. The BJP government has not just picked the pockets of the poor, but also kicked on their stomach,” the tweet in Hindi said.
Shortly after that, Cong-ress’ chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala accused the government of practising the politics of hate and division and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to focus instead on development.
“We demand that the PM should come forward and convene a meeting of all parties and present a roadmap for tackling prices of essential commodities in the next 30 or 60 days,” he said.
Questioning Mr Modi’s silence over the “unprecedented” increase in the prices of food items, he also demanded that the PM lay a roadmap for tackling inflation.
Asked about the rise in prices of essential items, food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said: “The government is observing everything. We are observing the prices of oil and pulses too. Sixty per cent of refined oil requirements are imported. We have to see the farmers’ interests as well as consumers’ interests.”
Mr Paswan also said the government had dealt with high onion prices and blamed state governments for not using the stock. The Centre has procured 18,000 tons of onion and is making them available to state governments at Rs 22 per kg.
“Around 18,000 tons of onion has been imported now, but even after all the efforts, only 2,000 tons of onion has been sold. We are providing onion at Rs 22/kg now. I have always maintained the government is making all efforts to make onions available. We are observing the prices and when the time comes we will take action on it,” he told the media.
“We are bearing the transportation cost of onions and working on a ‘no profit, no loss’ policy. So far, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have procured onions from the Centre,” he said.