Economic policies affecting credibility of India’s economists: BJP

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) India’s economic policies are impacting the credibility of the economists who run the country, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contended in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday as the upper house began debating the price rise issue that had stalled parliament last week.

‘We want to maintain the credibility of the economists who make the economic policies,’ Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said while initiating the debate on the issue.

According to Jaitley, India’s inflation figures were higher than any other country of similar economic stature.

‘The government has repeatedly blamed global trends for the inflation. Inflation in China is close to one percent. In Malaysia it is 1.16 percent. In Thailand it is 3.3 percent. Are these countries not affected by global trends?’ Jaitley asked.

Attacking the government for hiking petroleum prices, Jaitley said the tax component on fuel was unduly high in India.

‘China has duty on petroleum close to 31 percent. In Malaysia, it is 25 percent. In India, it is nearly 51 percent,’ he pointed out.

Participating in the debate, Congress member Jayanthi Natarajan accused the opposition of politicizing the price rise issue.

‘The issue of price rise and the suffering of the common man is a political tool in the hands of the opposition,’ she said.

She also lamented the lack of any concrete suggestions from Jaitley on dealing with price rise.

‘I was expecting a road map from the leader of opposition considering his experience and the experience of people in his party,’ she said.

Blaming the opposition for wasting a week of the session, Natarajan said: ‘Some estimates say Rs.40 crore was wasted and some estimates say Rs.70 crore was wasted in the stalemate last week.’

She also accused the opposition of causing huge economic losses due to last month’s countrywide strike on the price rise issue.

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