Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Buro member Brinda Karat on Monday demanded a time-bound programme to fix quality standards for soft drinks.
Addressing a press conference in Raipur, she said any further delay in fixing the quality standards for soft-drinks could be construed as an attempt by the government to provide undue benefit to the soft drink manufacturers.
Karat said a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), which inquired into the matter, had submitted its report nearly three years ago. On the basis of its findings, the quality standards were to be notified but it was withheld on the ground that standards of sugar were yet to be fixed.
Referring to price rise, CPI(M) leader urged the centre to keep essential commodities out of the commodity exchange.
She said future trading of essential commodities is tantamount to gambling as no actual purchase or sale takes place. However, it directly results in increase in prices of essential commodities.
Karat described as false the propaganda that the farmers would benefit from the future trading of commodities. Neither there was a natural calamity nor shortage in wheat production but wheat prices are on the rise, she pointed out and demanded inclusion of pulses in the list of essential commodities.
Referring to disinvestment, CPI (M) leader demanded halting the process for sale of the remaining 49 per cent shares of Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO), which was disinvested during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.
She said the Left parties, at the time of disinvestment, had pointed out that the expert committee had underestimated its actual value. Now the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has also reached the same conclusion, she added.