"Government is committed to contain it (inflation) because we consider it a serious and sensitive matter. There is sufficient supply of potato and onion and therefore there is no reason for panic," the Finance Minister said. (JPN/Agencies)
The government put all the blame for high food prices on the previous UPA government, saying it had inherited a "legacy" from it.
Jaitley said that Food and Consumer Affairs Department would continue to take steps to contain the rise in price of onion and potato and noted that the output of these two essential kitchen items has increased.
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said strict action would be taken against hoarders and middlemen as they are responsible for price rise.
Listing the steps already taken by the government, Jaitley said the Centre has issued directive to the states to crack down on hoarding, put a cap on stockholding and hiked minimum export price for onion and potato.
"For the last two years, prices of onion and potato have been rising. The then government used to wake up after prices had already risen....We started taking steps immediately when the prices touched Rs 25 per kg," he said.
During the debate, the opposition, including Congress, BSP, Samajwadi Party and TMC ridiculed the government and NDA's poll slogan of 'achhe din' (good days), wondering whether it was reflected by the rise in prices of food items like onion and potato and hike in rail fares and diesel cost.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while replying to the discussion, said the 41-day-old Narendra Modi government had taken immediate steps to contain prices of food items unlike the previous dispensation during which cost of onion rose even up to Rs 100 per kilo.
Members of the opposition, including Congress, BSP, TMC and CPI (M), staged a walkout expressing dissatisfaction over Jaitley's reply.
"Government is committed to contain it (inflation) because we consider it a serious and sensitive matter. There is sufficient supply of potato and onion and therefore there is no reason for panic," the Finance Minister said.