Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to speak on rising food prices in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, one of the issues the Opposition party is looking to corner the government on.
Wholesale inflation rose sharply to 1.6 % in June compared to a rise of just 0.8% in May. The increase in food prices quickened to 8.2% in June, compared to a 7.8% jump in May.
Pulses and some vegetables have been the main contributors to spiraling prices in recent months and the Congress has hit out at the Modi government failing the common man.
Rising food inflation is a major worry not just because it roils household budgets but also hinders the government’s growth agenda.
Last week, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had asking the party MPs to aggressively take up the issue and hold the government and its ministers accountable for spiralling prices.
Pricey pulses have been a cause of concern. HT wrote on July 17 that the government was working on a new policy framework to rein in the inflationary impact and stabilise the supply of pulses, a widely consumed but scarce food item with economy-wide implications.
Three ministries – agriculture, food and finance – and the state-run policy think-tank Niti Aayog are coordinating efforts to frame the new measures that will see the government act as a key importer of pulses.
The food ministry has proposed imports through longer-term government-to-government deals rather than just “spot purchases”. India has already signed a bilateral pact with Mozambique for growing and importing pulses. The Myanmar government is examining a similar draft agreement from India.
The supply of lentils, a common source of protein for the poor, has failed to keep pace with demand, because rising incomes have led to higher consumption of protein, analysts say.
(with agency inputs)