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Here's how to control soaring prices: Pranab's formula

Last updated on: August 4, 2010 15:19 IST

Here's how to control soaring prices: Pranab's formula

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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that handling inflationary pressure is the collective responsibility of all political parties.

Responding to the price rise debate in Lok Sabha, Mukherjee said that it should be tackled by leaders across all the political parties.

"I seek the support of all political parties in this regard. If we don't present the Bill in the current session, the implementation of tax reforms will be further delayed," he added.

He further said the central government alone cannot be blamed for price rise as today seven states are being ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party; three by the Left parties and Uttar Pradesh by Bahujan Samaj Party.

Levies on petroleum products account for 34 per cent of states' revenues, he added.

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He also sought Opposition's help for the introduction of Goods and Services Tax.

Explaining the government's position on inflation, Mukherjee said the central government has already taken several measures to check spiralling prices, and urged the state governments to take steps to remove supply-side bottle necks.

Stating that the Constitution amendment Bill must be introduced in this session for GST, the FM said this reform alone can help control fluctuation in prices.

On Tuesday, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj has said the opposition is disappointed that the Centre is not serious about tackling the continuous upsurge in inflation.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Accusing the government of raising prices of essential items after winning the elections in May last year, Swaraj said: "Congress had won the poll, but lost its morality."

She asserted that taxes are the highest in India on petroleum products, and the maximum taxes are shared by those states, which are ruled by the Congress Party.

Mukherjee earlier lost his cool over continuous protests by the Telegu Desam Party and Shiv Sena members over the issue of construction of the Babhli barrage in Maharashtra. "The House cannot be held to ransom", said Mukherjee.

He later apologised for losing his cool.

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He also chided the Opposition for ridiculing his sensitivity. "I am from a village... I studied under a kerosene lamp till my 10th class... commuted to school by walking, in today's terminology, 10 km everyday. Don't ridicule my sensitivity," said Mukherjee with folded hands when the Opposition members claimed that the Centre was trying to blame the states for price rise.

Mukherjee sought to know what according to the Opposition was sensitivity - raising kerosene prices from Rs 2 a litre to Rs 9 per litre (during the NDA regime) or increasing the prices from Rs 9 a litre to Rs 12 per litre?

The UPA government in June raised prices of kerosene by Rs 3 a litre, cooking gas by Rs 35 a cylinder and diesel by Rs a litre, besides freeing petrol prices from government control that made the fuel costlier by Rs 3 a litre.

Mukherjee was replying to the discussion on the Motion on Inflationary pressure on the economy.



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