The Greater Hyderabad wings of Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)) on Tuesday demanded reduction in the Customs and Excise Duties on petroleum products, and scrapping of the Targeted Distribution System in favour of the universal public distribution system.

Addressing a joint press conference organised in connection with the ‘Jail Bharo’ programme scheduled at 10 a.m. on Thursday, the CPI Greater Hyderabad Council Secretary V.S.Bose and the CPI(M) city committee secretary P.S.N.Murthy said that the recent price-rise is linked to the policies promulgated during the NDA regime, which allowed futures trading. They called upon people to make the ‘Jail Bharo’ a big success.

Due to the price rise, over 10 crore people are pushed below the poverty line during the last one year, and poor people are forced to spend about 60 to 70 per cent of their earnings on food, they said.

While States such as West Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra are offering about 18 to 22 kinds of commodities through the ration shops, the number is limited to five (in Andhra Pradesh), they said. They also condemned the increase of Value Added Tax from 12.5 per cent to 14 per cent.

Even while citing lack of funds as reason for the inability to reduce the prices of petro products, the central government did not flinch from giving Rs.80,000 crore tax concessions to corporate companies in the current financial year, they said.

They demanded revival of public distribution system, checking the hoarding and black-marketing, ban on futures trading, promulgation of laws for food security and urban employment guarantee, and housing for the urban poor, among others.

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