The Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2007-08 was passed in the Lok Sabha by a voice vote on Wednesday, with members of various parties criticising the UPA government for the steep price rise and demanding immediate measures to control inflation.
Many of them also demanded greater budgetary allocations for the agricultural and rural sectors.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in a reply, said the government had been able to allocate an “unprecedented” sum of money owing to the robust economic growth.
As part of the special grants, Rs 6,550 crore has been allocated for fertiliser sector, while Rs 800 crore has been given for the national food security mission and Rs 352 crore to telecom industry for meeting statutory dues.
Blaming stagnation in agricultural production for rising prices of essential items, he said as long as food production was not sufficient, there would be inflationary pressures.
“Why are the prices of essential commodities soaring? Why is the agricultural scenario so pessimistic? Maybe the Prime Minister is busy elsewhere outside the common minimum programe,” stated CPI-M member Anil Basu.
He pointed out that while the wholesale price index had declined in August, the consumer price index had increased. Several members also demanded implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report on the agricultural sector.