Source: Fwd E-Mail
The Hon’ble President of India
Subject: Nationwide concern of common man against unabated rise in prices
Memorandum to highlight the abject failure of UPA Government and the need for urgent action to ameliorate the sufferings of common people.
On behalf of Crores of common people of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party is here to convey to you the sentiments and the sense of outrage at unmitigated hardships being faced by common people due to the absolute failure of Congress-led UPA Government to check the rise in prices of essential commodities of daily use in the country. We have collected crores of signatures of people from every nook and corner of our country – from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Car Nicobar as well as from Kutch to Kamrup. This MEMORANDUM is being presented to you to communicate the agony and plight of common people at the cruel hands of UPA Government due to its anti-people, anti-poor, anti-farmer, anti-middle class policies as well as the total apathy, unconcern and callous attitude for the sufferings being caused to millions due to its wrong economic policies. The prices of items of daily use like pulses, vegetables, sugar, cooking gas, kerosene, petrol, diesel, electricity, water, and each and every item have increased manifold severely eroding the household budget and causing unmitigated burden on common people.
UPA’s assurances and its rank apathy:
It may be recalled that during the Lok Sabha elections-2009, the election manifesto and campaign premise of Congress-UPA was the promise that “the prices of essential commodities shall be brought down in next 100 days”.
It is dismaying to note that the handling of the economy by UPA Government has been totally reckless. The Government does not appear to be in control. There is no vision and thinking to control spiralling prices of commodities of daily use by common people. It seems that the country and the people have been left at the mercy of hoarders, speculation traders and the market forces. The Government seems to be afflicted with stupor while the common people are craving for some relief from this unchecked spiral of prices.
Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh was forced to take cognizance of the hardships of common people due to inflation and price rise in his Press Conference on 24th May, 2010 on completion of one year of UPA-II Government. He admitted that –
“Price rise is one of the major issues remained unresolved”. “Prices continue to be a matter of deep concern. The Government attaches highest priority to containing inflation so that there is no distress to the common man.” “We will continue to monitor the situation very carefully and take whatever corrective steps are necessary to rein in inflation.”
The Report Card of the UPA-II released by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh on 1st June, 2010 categorically states –
“Prices have gone up. Food inflation is a major concern. The UPA-Congress Govt. could not resolve the same”
Madam, in your Address to the Joint Session of Parliament in February, 2010, you had also given voice to the concerns of common people and the middle classes and advised the Government to effectively intervene through policy interventions and other measures to check the rise in prices of commodities of daily use.
However, in spite of these admonitions, assurances and commitments, it seems that the UPA Government is become completely insensitive towards the hardships being faced by common people. The prices of each and every item of daily use have seen a manifold increase while the prices of petroleum products have been increased thrice in the past one year. It is well known that any increase in petroleum prices has a tremendous cascading effect on the overall price stability in the country. Increase in prices despite these well-established linkages is indicative of gross negligence and insensitivity on part of Congress-led UPA government.
It is extremely distressing to Note that while various leaders and Ministers of UPA/Congress Government are making various pronouncements and expressing commitments yet no concrete action is being taken. It seems that these platitudes are just part of an exercise aimed at lip sympathy.
Hitting Where It Hurts The Most:
It seems the motto of UPA has become “Garibi Badao”. Ever since the UPA government has come to power, the number of people living below the poverty line has increased phenomenally. There is a phenomenal rise in poverty during the tenure of UPA-I & UPA-II. Number of poor has gone up during Congress Regime. According to the Planning Commission’s – National Sample Survey – Below Poverty Line (BPL) population in rural India was 28.3% in 2005.
This rise in prices has broken the back of the poor and the middle class people in the country. It is a matter of concern that the Government doesn’t even know the exact number of poor people in the country. According to the Planning Commission, there are 28%. According to N.C. Saxena Committee of the Rural Development Ministry, 50% people of the country are below the poverty line on the basis of calorie intake. According to Arjun Sen Gupta Committee constituted for unorganized sector, 77% people of the country make their sustenance on Rs. 20 daily. According the Tendulkar Committee report 37.2% people live below poverty line. The Planning Commission has put the BPL population as 31 crore in its 2005 report. The Tendulkar committee put this figure 42 crore in December, 2009. The daily income of such people is lesser than Rs. 20. The anti-people policies of the Congress Party and the UPA Government are responsible for this mess. The uncontrolled price rise has snatched the food away from the mouths of the children of these families.
Rotting Wheat Everywhere But Not a Grain to Eat:
It is a tragedy that on the one hand, food grains worth fifty eight thousand crore are rotting and at the other poor and downtrodden people are struggling for even one square meal every day. BJP leaders have visited FCI’s open godowns of wheat in Rajasthan, UP, Haryana and have collected samples of rotten wheat. The issue was also raised in the Parliament to highlight the shocking negligence of the UPA regime and its absolute mismanagement of the food supply issue. The sample of the rotten wheat was submitted to the Government and also to the Hon’ble Speaker. It is shocking to note that the Congress Government has not taken any action/precaution to remedy the situation and as a result thousands of crore of food grains have been allowed to go waste while the prices of these very commodities are skyrocketing and the poor are unable to afford them. BJP feels that the food inflation is due to negligence, mismanagement and manipulation.
It is reported that lakhs of tonnes of FCI/Govt. wheat is rotting in the open warehouses. As on April 2010, the FCI was having 183 lakhs tonnes of wheat in the central pool. Of this, 80 lakhs tonnes (72 lacs in 4 states) wheat lying in open warehouses, have become rotten.
WHEAT IN CENTRAL POOL [FCI & STATE.AGENCIES]
STORED IN Open Godowns AS ON 1.04.2010 [FIG.IN MT]
REGION QTY.IN CAP/ OPEN GODOWNS
FCI STATE AGENCIES TOTAL
48,226 41,57,486 42,05,712
HARYANA 59,559 24,85,351 25,44,910
RAJASTHAN 3,87,160 0 3.87,160
UTTAR PRADESH 98,453 0 98,453
TOTAL 5,93,398 66,42,837 72,36,235
Shri Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs stated that such a loss is due to lack of management. While Lacs of tonnes of food grains rot every year in government godowns, poor people are dying of hunger and malnutrition. Saxena Committee of GOI stated that 51% of BPL people do not have any ration cards. In Congress-UPA regime, farmers are getting the least though the common man is paying the most and the common people, the poor and the downtrodden are struggling for food
In spite of huge production and massive buffer stock, the prices of food grains have gone up rapidly. BJP finds it baffling and the nation is unable to understand the reason for not releasing the available buffer stock into the market or distributing it through the public distribution system in spite of buffer stocks to ease the pressure on prices? This epitomizes the sheer scale of negligence and gross mismanagement of food economy by the UPA Government. On the one hand, it continues to shed tears for uplifting and welfare of common people, at the same time, it cruelly connives with profiteers to create an artificial scarcity of commodities to push the prices up.
Food Grains Stock (figures in lac ton)
WHEAT RICE TOTAL
BUFFER NORMS 82 118 200
ACTUAL STOCKS 183.88 269.50 453.38
The above statistics, taken from the Government’s own records, show that against the buffer stock requirement of 200 lac tons, the Government actually has a buffer stock of 453 lac tons. Hence, it is difficult to explain the abnormal rise in prices without attributing to the colossal failure, mismanagement and mishandling of the situation by the Congress-led UPA government.
Hike in prices of petroleum products:
BJP feels that the wrong economic policies of the UPA Government are making the life of common man difficult. In last one year, Congress Government has hiked the petroleum prices thrice. Prices of kerosene, CNG, etc. and these have been raised by the Government by 33-46%.
PRICES OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
Products Price in April, 2009 (in Rs) Price in July, 2010 (in Rs.) % increase in last one year
Petrol 44.55 55.88 25
Diesel 4.45 41.98 20
Kerosene 9.05 12.27 33
CNG 21.70 31.47 46
Cooking Gas (LPG) 312.05 348.45 11
Note: Petroleum products price differs from State to State due to SST/VAT.
It is the Congress which had given a commitment to ensure stability of petroleum prices. Sudden sharp increase of 11 to 46% in the prices of petroleum products, which has direct impact on the day-to-day life of common man, has pushed the inflation/price rise further. It is an ill-thought move and it appears that the consequence of such steep hike in petroleum prices had not been assessed while announcing the hike. This has further made the efforts to curb prices difficult and such type of indirect taxes affect the common man directly.
Price Rise – A Comparison with Other Countries and Economies:
While world is having 1-3% inflation, India has entered into an era of double-digit inflation. It is difficult to understand/accept the logic extended by Dr. Manmohan Singh – “If you want growth you have to face inflation”. China, Brazil and Russia are the fastest growing economy in the world. The GDP growth in China stood 9.5% and that of India is 7.2% but the inflation in China is less than 3% and food inflation is less than 1%, whereas in India the inflation is around 11%
Country Inflation %
South Korea 2.7
Hong Kong 1.0
Date : May/June 2010
In various countries of the world, prices of essential commodities, food grains have gone down. International prices of many items are half of what is quoted in India. Sugar is an unique example. International price is Rs.17/- or so while in India, the common consumer is compelled to pay Rs.38/- per kg.
ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES PRICES DOUBLE IN INDIA COMPARED TO WORLD
Rate per kg
Item International Price Price in India
Wheat 8.00 14.50
Soybean 16.24 22.50
Soya Oil 40.06 46.00
Sugar 17.68 38.00
Commodity Exchanges – Dens of Speculation:
Along with wrong economic policies, taxing common man directly through indirect taxes, speculation and manipulation in essential commodities at Commodity Exchange has played a major role in food inflation.
There are around 22 to 23 Commodity Exchanges in India. Of these, National Commodity & Derivative Exchange (NCDEX) and Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) are the major Exchanges.
Essential, i.e. Agricultural Commodities are mainly traded at Commodity Exchange (NCDEX). In 2009, out of Rs.10.84,224 crores turnover at NCDEX, delivery was 0.33%, i.e. Rs.3,591 crores. Artificial turnover pushes up the prices of food grains/items.
Total Turnover Speculation Actual Delivery
Amount Rs. Crores % Amount Rs. Crores % Amount Rs. Crores %
10,88,224 100 10,84,633 99.67 3,591 0.33
Government of India is asking State Governments to take necessary steps under the Essential Commodities Act to curb price rise. In contradiction, it is encouraging speculative, manipulative tendencies by pushing/allowing future/forwarding trading in essential commodities at the Commodity Exchanges. The above figures clearly state that 99.67% transactions in agriculture/essential commodities are speculative. It pushes the prices upwards. Essential commodities have been shifted to future trading since 2004 (later half).
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the unmitigated sufferings and hardships of the common people, the farmers, the middle classes and the workers and the utter neglect, insensitivity and indifference shown by the Congress Party and the UPA government by turning a blind eye and a deaf ear towards the voices of the people, the BJP has been spearheading the agitation against rising prices to draw the attention of the Government to this issue and to urge it to shed its attitude of inaction and drift and take firm steps to mitigate the situation.
Since 16th January, 2010 Bharatiya Janata Party has been drawing attention of the Government against the unabated price rise and has been raising the issue of price rise/Mehangai at various levels through different platforms.
I. BJP President Shri Nitin Gadkari has made power point presentation on price rise in 15 different states/cities in the country.
II. BJP submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister on 20th February, 2010.
III. BJP-led Opposition parties raised a debate on price rice in Parliament on 25th February, 2010.
IV. Debates were held in various State Legislatures.
V. BJP leaders visited Government’s/FCI’s open godowns to draw attention of the Government towards the issue of rotting wheat and the need to distribute it to the needy through the PDS.
VI. BJP leaders visited various potato cultivating areas of the country and dew the attention of the Government towards the apathy/mismatch that a potato farmer gets Rs.2/- to Rs. 4/- per kg while a customer is paying Rs.10/- to Rs.18/- per kg.
VII. Mehangai Marches/Rallies demonstration held throughout the country during the last six months.
VIII. One of the biggest public rallies against price rise was held in Delhi on 21st April, 2010 to articulate the sufferings of the common man and to wake up this slumbering and dithering UPA Government.
IX. Mehangai/price rise issue was once again discussed in Parliament in the last week of April, 2010
X. Bharat Bandh on 5th July.
Today we are submitting herewith crores of signatures of common man against prices rise. We demand that the Government should take following steps immediately to counter price rise in the country.
I. Removal of Food Articles from Commodities Exchange Forward Trading List.
II. Food Security and Creation of Buffer Stock.
III. Stop Economic Policy of robbing farmers and looting the common man.
IV. Steps to bring down price of wheat, rice, sugar, dal and green vegetables.
V. Monitoring action against hoarders, black-marketers, multinational companies and corporate manipulation and profiteers.
VI. Food for kitchen (not for thought only)
VII. Top priority to agro-economy
VIII. Proper fund allocation to agriculture development and agricultural infrastructure
IX. Water & River projects on war footing.
X. Proper management of food grains and horticulture storage.
XI. Full-fledged storage plan for next 25 years
Its wrong economic policies : import-export, agriculture, consumer affairs, faulty public distribution system, food & civil supply choas, bad storage facilities, financial policies of Congress-UPA Govt. and also mismanagement & manipulation, corruption of Union Govt. all these are collectively responsible for present Mehangai.
We request for your kind intervention to check the price rise immediately so that common man get relief.
With kind regards,
Chairman – BJP Parliamentary Party
Leader of Opposition – Lok Sabha
Leader of Opposition – Rajya Sabha