Lawmakers walk out of Parliament over inflation

Lawmakers walk out of Parliament over inflation

New Delhi: Lawmakers walked out of Parliament on Wednesday protesting against inflation, as the opposition piled up pressure on the government to curb rising prices and threatened to carry out street protests.

The speaker adjourned proceedings for the day after lawmakers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition, as well as from other parties walked out of Parliament with many shouting:“The government needs to be changed."

India’s food inflation was at 16.7% in November as the worst dry spell in nearly four decades and annual floods in some states slashed farm output.

Higher prices paid by government agencies to buy grains from farmers have pushed the headline inflation to 4.78%.

Rising food prices have given a political boost to the BJP, which has been riven by internal feuding after losing the May national election.

Inflation and a high fiscal deficit, projected to rise to 6.8% of the gross domestic product, are major risks to India’s ambitious plan to ratchet up economic growth back to 9% level seen between 2005/06 and 2007/08.

In Parliament, demands from sugar cane farmers last month asking higher prices and issues like formation of a new state have disrupted proceedings on a regular basis.

Many bills, including one on land acquisition and on the pension sector to allow entry of private players are likely to be now taken up in the next session.