New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) The CPI-M Monday denounced the government decision to sell 10 million surplus foodstock to bulk consumers and said ordinary people should instead be sold 35 kg each at Rs.2 a kilo.
The CPI-M hit out at the move to sell the foodstock to flour mills and biscuit makers through auction under the open market sale scheme as a part of a plan to tackle inflation.
"(A total of) 2.5 million tonnes of grain will be allocated monthly through auction for the next four months on a 'no profit, no loss basis'," the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.
With this, it said, the government intended to transfer food subsidy as largesse and to benefit traders and manufacturers, including big companies, and not to those in hunger and food insecurity.
"It is totally irrational to claim that this will control prices."
It said that if the government was interested in controlling prices, it should increase supplies through the public distribution system.
"At present the government is holding around 5 crore tonnes of surplus stocks of foodgrains.
"The grains should be distributed universally, scrapping the discriminatory APL/BPL divisions, with a minimum allocation of 35 kg of foodgrains of good quality per family at the maximum of Rs.2 a kilo.
"This should become a legally enforceable right in the next parliament session."
The CPI-M blasted the UPA government for failing to control food inflation, saying the August figures showed that food prices had gone up by 12.03 percent.
This was before the recent hike in diesel prices, which, it said, will lead to further rise in prices.
The Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) was 10.03 percent in August, and the Wholesale Price Index was 7.55 percent, mainly due to a rise in food prices.
"India has the dubious distinction of having the highest retail inflation among emerging BRICS nations," it added.
--Ind-Asian News Service