Outline steps to stop price rise, Congress tells government

Opposition demands a white paper on economy as statistics show retail inflation close to 7%

Opposition demands a white paper on economy as statistics show retail inflation close to 7%

The Narendra Modi government should present a white paper on the economy and also tell the country on what steps it will take to arrest the spiralling prices, the Opposition Congress said on Saturday.

The demand comes as latest statistics show that retail inflation has accelerated sharply to 6.95% in March, the fastest pace of price gains in almost one and a half years, and marked the third straight month when inflation exceeded the Reserve Bank Of India’s tolerance threshold of 6%.

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Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Congress’s national spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the debate around inflation often gets centered around the fuel prices but the fact is that prices of almost every essential commodity has increased in the last eight years.

“If you track the Consumer Price Index, 235 of the 299 commodities on the list have seen a higher percentage price hike than petrol in the last few years,” she said.

In the period of March 2014 to April 2022, the percentage hike in prices of milk, edible oil, pulses and vegetables like onion is more than that of petrol, Ms. Shrinate said. The cost of getting treated in a hospital has gone up by 71 %, she said.

At a time when prices are rising, the interest rates on fixed deposits and other saving instruments have come down The government she said is “eroding and plundering” the savings of the common man.

“We have only two questions to raise before the government. What is their strategy to rein in prices? The price rise has come at a time, when 84% people have seen their incomes erode. 15 crore of the poorest households have seen their incomes reduced by half, thanks to this government,” Ms. Shrinate said. And second demand, she said is a white paper.

“It is high time that the government, instead of distracting and speaking in a language that most people in this country don’t understand and shifting the blame around; the government must present a white paper on economy,” she added.

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