Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday blamed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for the increase in prices of essential commodities and said the common man was the worst-affected.

Firing another salvo at the Central government, the Chief Minister said the fact that the rate of inflation had gone up to 5.11 per cent was indicative of the Centre’s failure to arrest the galloping prices.

Ms. Mayawati said the State government was making all possible efforts to check the prices.

The Chief Minister said the increase in the the prices of petrol by Rs.2 a litre and of diesel by Rs.1 a litre had resulted in the increase in transportation cost.

The Centre should have decreased the prices in the interests of the people, Ms. Mayawati said at a press conference here.

While the Chief Minister admitted that the rates of items of daily use such as wheat flour, “maida”, “suji”, vanaspati ghee, desi ghee, spices, rice, infant food, mustard oil, medicines and certain electrical appliances had gone up, she placed the onus for the price rise on the Central government.

The State government had either decreased their prices or kept them unchanged under the Value Added Tax.

Ms. Mayawati rejected the allegation that the price rise was due to the imposition of VAT in Uttar Pradesh and said that the tax rates had gone down following the implementation of the new tax regime. Within a month of the implementation of the new tax structure, tax revenue had registered an increase of 6.7 per cent in February 2008, as compared to the same period in 2007 when the previous regime refused to introduce the new tax measure, she said.