Cong slams PM over failure to control food inflation

Mumbai: The Congress on Thursday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the increasing inflation figures for the month of May, saying “If Modi is there then there is inflation! (Modi hai toh mehengai hai’).”

This comes a day after government released the data showing that retail inflation had fallen to a one-year low of 4.75 percent in May, attributed to a slight drop in food prices.

Calling the newly elected Narendra Modi, a ‘one-third’ Prime Minister, Ramesh said that “The ‘one-third’ Pradhan Mantri has no solution to this crisis.”

Inflation in the food basket was at 8.69% in May, marginally down from 8.70% in April, reported PTI citing the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

In a post on ‘X’ Congress’ Jairam Ramesh wrote in hindi, “Modi hai toh mehengai hai! Food price inflation is over 8.5% for four months Pulses inflation has been consistently in double digits over the past year – more than 10%; prices rose by 17.14% in May.”

According to Ramesh the Congress manifesto promised to increase the protein intake for the poor and promised to ensure a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for pulses, calculated as per the Swaminathan Commission’s formula.

He further added, “In the Congress manifesto we had promised to take two measures to address the problem of inflation, particularly in the case of pulses: 1. Legal guarantee of MSP for pulses with price determined by Swaminathan Commission formula. This will promote domestic cultivation of pulses – as farmers will get access to market as well as fair and assured price. 2. By including pulses in PDS, the amount of protein in the food of the poor will increase and they can also be saved from inflation.”

Headline inflation has gradually decreased from January 2024, ranging between 5.1% in February to 4.8% in April 2024.

Data from the NSO also shows that retail inflation was higher in rural areas at 5.28% compared to 4.15% in urban areas.

In May, vegetable prices rose compared to the previous month, while fruit prices were lower.

The government has instructed the Reserve Bank to keep CPI inflation around 4%, with a tolerance range of 2% in either direction.