Neena Vyas

“Result of mismanagement of food economy by UPA”

Prices of food items much higher than inflation rate

UPA will have to pay the political cost

NEW DELHI: Inflation is nothing but “unlegislated tax” on the common man and the “worst fears” of “inflation out of control” were coming true, Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Arun Jaitley said here on Friday.

On the 7 per cent rise in the Wholesale Price Index, Mr. Jaitley said the consumer price index would be naturally much higher. What was worse was that prices of food items were much higher than the inflation rate suggested and the housing sector had also taken a big hit with prices of steel and cement shooting up.

While admitting that there were global factors such as high price of international crude at play, the BJP is blaming “mismanagement of the food economy by the United Progressive Alliance” and lack of adequate and timely response to the situation for the current situation.

When agricultural production fell in 2002, the National Democratic Alliance government could maintain price stability because it had built up an adequate buffer stock of food grains. The UPA government had not paid attention to a buffer stock; it had not made timely decisions for import of food items expected to be in short supply. It had not taken the right decisions at the right time for cutting back import duties on food articles, Mr. Jaitley said.

He warned that the common man was paying for food now, but the UPA would have to pay the political cost of this “mismanagement.” The next few months could see a further rise in prices, especially food items.

Referring indirectly to the Finance Minister having cut direct taxes in the budget, Mr. Jaitley said inflation ruling now was an “unlegislated tax on the common man.”