India’s annual retail inflation in June climbed to 7.01% in June from 6.26% a year earlier.New Delhi: After weeks of disruptions in the Parliament over discussion on price rise, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will today speak in Lok Sabha at 7 pm. Opposition parties have been demanding a discussion on the issue since the start of the Monsoon Session but the government insisted Ms Sitharaman, who was out of action because of a Covid infection, would respond to it herself once she recovers. The Opposition questioned why time was wasted for two weeks when the same discussion could have been conducted earlier, with some other minister responding to the issue. Crore of rupees was wasted because the government shied away from facing questions on the issue for two weeks, Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal said.The finance minister’s scheduled address comes after the first two weeks of the Monsoon Session saw utter chaos in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, where the Opposition kept demanding a debate on inflation by suspending all other businesses.Following continued disruptions that forced two adjournments, the Lok Sabha started debating price rise this afternoon after the suspension of four Congress MPs was revoked.India’s annual retail inflation in June climbed to 7.01% in June from 6.26% a year earlier, as per government data released early last month. This was above the central bank’s tolerance band of 2%-6% for the sixth month in a row. There have also been protests over the levy of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on essential items that were earlier out of its ambit.BJP MP Jayant Sinha, right before the finance minister is to speak, set the stage by denying there was any price rise. “The opposition is trying to find price rise but they aren’t able to find it,” he said, accusing the Opposition of “drama” in the well of the house. He listed various schemes of the Centre, claiming the JAM trinity (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile number) has ensured the common people have purchasing power and inflation is contained. Several Opposition MPs have already been suspended from Parliament for “unruly behaviour” following loud protests in the two houses. Speaker Om Birla has said the country is hurt by the disruptions in the House. He added that while debates and discussions are needed, it is the members’ collective responsibility to maintain the decorum of the House.The Speaker was particularly upset when Opposition MPs gathered in the Well of the House with packets of curd, butter and buttermilk, questioning GST on such basic food items.Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said the government is ready for a discussion of price rise in Lok Sabha today and in Rajya Sabha tomorrow. However, he said, the suspended MPs must apologise, and the Opposition must ensure no members bring placards into the House.