The “debate” in Parliament on the issue and the “resolution” prepared by all parties to be passed in this session, exposes starkly the “concern for the aam admi” of both the government and its opposition.
On the one hand, the government has recently taken measures that are exacerbating the inflationary situation and has taken no steps over the last two years to ease the situation and ensure that the working people are able to afford the purchase of essential items of consumption. On the other, running up to the date of opening of the parliament’s monsoon session, the opposition parties created a big hue and cry about the government’s acts of omission and commission on the front of price rise to demonstrate their “concern” for the masses of people reeling under inflation. The BJP, JD(U), SP, CPI and CPI(M) stalled proceedings of the two houses for a couple of days and then all has become quiet. Inflation of food and essential commodities continue to oppress the working people.
Replying to the debate on inflation in parliament, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherji said that "inflation is the price we have to pay for rapid growth". In other words, he is saying that the toiling masses should pay the price of ensuring that the capitalist monopolies get the highest rate of profit. His government is committed to ensure double digit growth of the corporates, Indian and foreign. To ensure this, it will continue to extract tribute from the toiling masses, through inflation and other means.
To keep corporate profits high in spite of the global crisis, the Central government gave huge handouts over the last two years in the name of ‘fiscal stimulus’. To finance these handouts it resorted to massive additional borrowing as well as additional taxation of labour incomes and commodity sales. It is imposing the burden of servicing its rising debt on the backs of the people, by further raising indirect taxes and administered prices such as of petroleum products. All this is leading to a general rise in prices of commodities, particularly those consumed by the working masses of town and country.
Even as the Finance Minister delivered the government’s responses to the debate, the method to settle the question in Parliament had been worked out. The Finance Minister invited all the opposition leaders to a breakfast meeting, and all present - Congress, BJP, SP, JD(U), CPI, CPI(M), agreed to a resolution, that “expressed concern over inflationary pressure in the economy, and calling upon the government to take further action to contain its adverse impact on the common man”. Both the UPA and the opposition parties congratulated themselves that they had made their point and scored over the other!
The outcome only underscores the fact that Parliament is nothing but a talk shop, where the bourgeois parties can engage in bouts and sort out their differences, and legitimize their anti-people policies.