Cong slams Centre over price rise of food articles, fuel

New Delhi: The Congress hit out at the BJP government on Wednesday over the unbridled price rise of food articles and petroleum products, which has fuelled the wholesale price index to a 30-year high of 15.08 per cent, and asked it to reduce excise duties to help increase consumption.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the government is bringing all kinds of issues to divert the attention of people, but not giving any reaction on the issues of price rise, inflation and unemployment.

She also called upon the government to increase consumption and reduce excise duties to help stop inflation.

“We want to tell the government, instead of resorting to weapons of mass distraction, you might as well focus on the one issue that matters and that is to rein in the high prices, because this impacts every individual,” Shrinate told reporters here.

“The high inflation shows the government’s indifference and incompetence in tackling price rise,” she said.

The Congress leader said due to the unbridled price rise of food and fuel, wholesale price inflation has touched a 30-year high of 15.08 per cent and retail inflation is at an eight-year high, adding that this is going to spiral into retail inflation as well for the month of May.

Shrinate said vegetables have seen a price rise of nearly 23 per cent and food prices are up by nearly 8.5 per cent and as a direct consequence of low wages and unemployment, reports suggest that the consumption of vegetables has nearly halved in big markets.

She said this impacts the poor, the middle class, the homemaker, professionals and everyone else and “your constant attempts to distract those issues are only making matters worse because the reality is, Indians are having to bear the brunt of high prices at a time when 83 per cent have seen income erosion and of course, unemployment is at record levels”.

The Congress leader also highlighted the government’s “indifference” towards the issue of price rise and said it is not a global problem as being claimed by those in power.

Highlighting the profits of Rs 6,000 crore by Indian Oil Corporation in the last quarter, she said this shows that there is elbow space with the government to reduce oil prices.

Shrinate also highlighted a recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report that says food prices will continue to rise in the next few months, which is a cause of worry for everyone.

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