On Day 2 of the price rise debate in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who replied to the BJP's charges of fiscal mismanagement, said, “Growth with a moderate rate of inflation is what we wish to achieve.”
On Wednesday, BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha launched the debate, saying the government should compromise on its growth strategy to control prices.
Mukherjee said the target was to bring down the inflation level below 5%, and there was no need to sacrifice the growth strategy. Taking a dig at Sinha, he said, “Let's not mix up growth with inflation. Inflation is caused because of a mismatch between demand and supply.”
He said there were also “external factors” — including the costlier global crude — responsible for the sudden spurt in prices. But, he said food inflation had been brought down from 22% in February 2010 to 8.35% in July this year.
This was the fifth occasion that the current Lok Sabha discussed the price rise situation. After Mukherjee completed his reply, the BJP, however, did not press for voting.
Later, the House adopted a resolution by a voice vote, asking the government to take steps to check inflation.
The NDA, which moved the motion for a debate on Wednesday, was "hugely disappointed" with the finance minister's reply. Sinha said, “The finance minister's speech makes no mention of the specific measures that the government proposes to take to curb inflation.”
MPs belonging to the CPI, CPM, SP and BSP staged a walkout shortly after Mukherjee finished his reply.