CPI urges government to contain price rise through budget

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New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) The Communist party of India (CPI) has urged the Congress-led UPA Government to make provisions in the general budget to bring down the prices of essential commodities.

Party general secretary A B Bardhan said the prices of essential commodities were very high making life difficult for the common man.

He pointed out that in the case of medicines the prices all but 74 drugs have risen manifold owing to wrong policies of the Government which was contrary to the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which promised affordable medicines.

The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) based excise was levied in January 2005 with anomalies which was responsible for migration of industry to Tax Holiday States from where 75 per cent production was being sourced not only to evade the higher taxation but to charge higher maximum retail price on medicines in the absence of any tax detected, he said.

National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research has confirmed that prices of some medicines had gone upto 326 per cent from Tax Holiday States. To remove the anomalies and fix the problem, Dr Pronab Sen Committee was set up and it submitted its recommendations which were rejected by the Finance Ministry.

Subsequently, another set of recommendations were obtained from the Economic Advisory Council and these were approved by the Prime Minister himself for implementation.

Regretfully, the Finance Minister refused to implement either of the recommendations and this scuttled the effort to contain the prices of Government made medicines in the country, Mr Bardhan said.

UNI/BKS SK AS1537

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