Modi government continues to deny seriousness of price rise, says Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi lashed out at the government over price rise and the country’s economic situation during a speech at the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party
Congress president Sonia Gandhi lashed out at the government over price rise and the country’s economic situation during a speech at the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party on Wednesday. (PTI)
Congress president Sonia Gandhi lashed out at the government over price rise and the country’s economic situation during a speech at the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party on Wednesday. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 08, 2021 11:28 AM IST
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Congress president Sonia Gandhi lashed out at the government over price rise and the country’s economic situation on Wednesday during a speech at the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP).

“I cannot understand how and why the [Narendra] Modi government is so insensitive and continues to deny the seriousness of the problem [of price rise]. It seems impervious to the suffering of the people,” she said.

Gandhi said the economy had lost momentum well before the Covid-19 pandemic hit India. “The pandemic accelerated this loss. But thanks to the government’s half-hearted and ill-advised responses, the situation has become even more serious,” she said.

To provide relief to the public, the government recently lowered excise rates on petrol and diesel, while some state governments also announced additional price cuts.

Gandhi, however, called the Centre’s excise rate cut on fuel “totally insufficient and inadequate”. She said, “As usual, the government has passed the responsibility for duty cuts to financially strapped state governments, when it itself has far greater room for action.”

“And all this while, the Centre persists with huge public expenditure on vain, glorious projects,” said Gandhi, seemingly referring to the ongoing Central Vista project. The Opposition had earlier demanded that the Central Vista redevelopment must stop and the funds should to diverted for health infrastructure and other social welfare expenses.

Demanding a debate in Parliament over price rise, Gandhi said, “The prices of edible oils, pulses and vegetables are burning a hole in the monthly budget of every household. The rising prices of cement, steel and other basic industrial commodities also do not bode well for economic recovery.”

She questioned the government’s claims of economic recovery, saying, “But recovery for whom is the real question?”

Alleging that the government is working only for a chosen few, Gandhi said, “It means nothing to those millions who have lost their livelihoods, and to those MSMEs whose businesses have been crippled - not just by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also by the combined effects of note bandi (demonetisation) and the hasty implementation of a flawed GST.”

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Thursday, January 20, 2022