Under attack over food inflation, the Narendra Modi government today asserted that it will control price rise despite below normal monsoon and there is no need for panic.
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told Lok Sabha that there was no shortage of supplies but hoarders are taking huge cuts and the government has already initiated steps to sternly deal with them.
He was replying to a discussion on price rise over which the government came under scathing attack with Opposition mockingly asking whether the rise in prices reflected the arrival of "achche din" (good days), a poll slogan of the BJP.
Congress members staged a walk out as they were dissatisfied with the reply.
Seeking to allay apprehensions, Paswan said, "There is no need to spread panic in the country...we need not panic."
He said prices of some commodities like onion and potato are generally high during the lean period of June to September.
Paswan also asserted that in spite of shortfall in monsoon, government would control price rise and the next three to four months are crucial.
The government came under blistering attack from the Opposition on the issue of price rise with members taking a dig at BJP, wondering where the "achche din" (good days), promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have gone.
To tackle the situation, the government has taken several measures, including imposition of minimum export price on onion and potato. Besides, onion and potato have been brought under the ambit of Essential Commodities Act and the Centre was empowering states to take stern action against hoarders.
The Minister said there is no worry if price rise benefits farmers, but most of the time hoarders are taking huge cuts.
Citing various measures initiated by the government to tackle price rise, including that of making hoarding a non- bailable offence, Paswan said hoarders would be punished.
Pitching for a national market for vegetables and food, Paswan said commodities should flow like water between states without any barriers.
Accepting that there is a shortage of storage facilities, Paswan said the major issue to be looked at is why prices are rising despite higher production.
On criticism by Opposition members on efforts to tackle price rise, Paswan said there is no dearth of leaders or policies and what matters is the bonafide intention of the government.