Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: The Left parties will hold a protest rally against the rise in prices of essential commodities in New Delhi during the budget session of the Parliament in March said the National Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), D. Raja, on Monday.

Speaking to presspersons on the sidelines of the party’s three-day national council meeting being held here, Mr. Raja said that Centre had failed to control price rise and the proposed Food Security Act would only deepen food insecurity.“The government claims that inflation in the international market is impacting price rise. But prices are not coming down even though the rate of inflation has come down. That defies economic logic.”

Blaming the government’s inability to strengthen the Public Distribution System, enforce the Essential Commodities Act and ban forward trading in food items as factors pushing prices sky high, he said the Centre had remained a “mute spectator” to the misery of people.

Speaking about the shortcomings in Food Security Act, Mr. Raja said that the government had no clarity on even the criteria to define poverty. While the government claimed that poverty levels were coming down, the findings of the expert committee headed by noted economist Suresh Tendulkar showed clearly that the level of poverty had only risen, said Mr. Raja. Arguing for universalisation of PDS and removal of the categories of Above Poverty Line (APL) and Below Poverty Line (BPL), he described the proposed Act as “defective and deceptive.” The Act would actually push up prices of food grains in states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu where they are available for higher subsidy than what is proposed by the Act, he added.

The national council meet has passed unanimous resolutions on price rise and the proposed Food Security Act.