Concerns remain, says Jaitley

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Thursday said concerns on inflation would continue to persist, rebutting assurances to the contrary by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“These inflationary pressures hurt the entire economy. You may carry on with your schemes for rural employment, but inflation alone is capable of pushing down a lot more people every year below the poverty line. Therefore, these concerns will remain,” he said while winding up the debate on price rise which he had initiated.

Mr. Jaitley raised two points of concern — the first pertaining to management of the food economy. “Even if there is much higher production, our worry is what happens to the increased stock? Is the management going to be like last year? Or, is it going to be a little better?”

The second area of anxiety was on the petroleum front. Feeling that the taxes were “a bit too high,” Mr. Jaitley called upon Mr. Mukherjee to introspect honestly as it was not a “taxing battle” between the Centre and the States.

He also pointed to the worry of federalism and the imbalance it is creating in States. He cited the case of mineral-rich States which were not getting their adequate share. Gas-producing States too had their own grievances. Concurrent List legislation were pending for years and the Centre was indifferent.

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