While the CPI Central Secretariat said in a statement it is time when the government effectively intervenes in the grave situation on the price front, CPI(M) senior leader Mohammad Salim told UNI that had the government acted upon the six-point charter of demands of the Left parties, inflation would have been curbed by now.
The headline inflation rate for the week ended April 19 surged to a 42-month high at 7.57 per cent as compared to 7.33 per cent for the previous week.
CPI said tall claims were made by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the government had taken fiscal and monetary measures to control inflation, but the ground reality was opposite.
"Now the government must effectively intervene in the grave situation . It should not only further amend the Essential Commodities Act so as to ensure that the state governments take bold action against the black marketeers, strengthen the Public Distribution System, it should also put a ban on futures trading in 25 essential foodgrain items," the Left party said.
It also asked when the government had also nearly met its target of procurement why are not the prices coming down? " The UPA government can not escape its responsibilities by saying that inflation is a worldwide phenomenon.'' Mr Salim said real inflation in terms of prices of essential commodities is far more than what has been touted. "Besides, it is unfortunate that the Finance Minister and Prime Minister, instead of taking a firm stand on policy matters, are pleading to the industrialists and business houses to arrest the prices.'' The CPI(M) leader said now when the people are suffering, the government have to come forward and take hard economic decisions.
He said the Left parties from the very beginning had been suggesting several measures including eliminating duties but the government on the other hand wanted to mop up huge revenue on account of duty on fuel, dismantling PDS, withdrawing from the PDS and rendering the Essential Commodities Act toothless and allowing forward trading to benefit the speculators to earn huge profits.
"All these years the Planning Commission and the Finance Minister have been insisting that five per cent rate of inflation is bearable to sustain the growth. However the fruit of growth has proved beneficial for a handful of rich while the poor have become the casualties," said Mr Salim, the CPI(M) deputy leader in the Lok Sabha.
If the government did not respond without further delay it will have to bear the price in the coming Assembly polls and the general elections next year, he warned.
UNI KSA KK RP KN1916