The government must study in detail how commodity exchanges are manipulated to jack up food prices, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said on Monday as he sought a permanent ban on forward trading in essential food items.
Addressing a press conference after making a presentation on inflation, Gadkari said the record of last year transactions on forward exchange in essential commodities established “it is 99 per cent speculation and less than 1 per cent deliveries and these exchanges are used for manipulation”.
Pointing at “large-scale corruption”, he said, “The definite beneficiaries are multinationals, corporates, manipulators, speculators and black marketers. In the last six months, inflation grew from 1 to 8 per cent but food price index went up from 12 to 20 per cent. While the consumers paid three times more than the price paid to farmers, profit of commodity companies went by 500 to 2,900 per cent in the last quarter of 2009.”
Gadkari said Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj was in touch with the NDA partners and opposition parties for chalking out a strategy to take on the government during the forthcoming budget session of Parliament. “I would also like to invite the Left parties to build a consensus on cornering the government on the issue of price rise despite bumper crop.”
He held the “wrong economic policies of the government” responsible for price rise and asserted that not just Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar “but the entire cabinet of the Manmohan Singh government is to be blamed for food inflation”.
Gadkari, who many thought was soft on Pawar as he hails from his home state Maharashtra, said, “This is the total failure of the UPA, including Sharad Pawar... The Prime Minister, the Group of Ministers, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi are also responsible.”