Government deeply concerned about inflation: Patil

Monday, February 21, 2011

NEW DELHI - The United Progressive Alliance government is “deeply concerned” over the effects of inflation, especially high food prices, on the common man and the threat it poses to economic growth, President Pratibha Patil said here Monday.

“My government is deeply concerned over the adverse impact of inflation on the aam aadmi (common man) and the threat it poses to the growth momentum,” Patil said in her address to a joint sitting of both houses of parliament.

She said the government has already taken a number of proactive measures to counteract the adverse effects of inflation.

“The import regime has been liberalised to ease supply constraints of critical items,” said Patil.

Enumerating the other measures, she added that the export of commodities like edible oils and pulses have been banned, while the public sector has been directed to open more retail units for selling vegetables to individual consumers.

The president noted that the government’s measures have started to show results, with cereal prices in check.

“In fact, inflation was declining until November when unseasonal rains in some states led to a spurt in vegetable prices. These prices have come down again following the arrival of the fresh crop,” said Patil.

But Patil admitted that the “long term solution lies in increasing productivity and production” of food grains.

“My government has provided huge incentives to our farmers to produce more,” Patil said adding that minimum support price paid to farmers had been significantly increased on various crops like paddy, wheat and sugarcane.

Pail, however, added that states must play their role in ensuring optimum food grain output and protect the interest of farmers and shield the common man from rising prices of essential food items.

“They (farmers) should be able to sell to the consumer without impediments being placed on them. Measures necessary to ensure this fall largely in the domain of states.”

Patil also spoke about the government’s plans to introduce a food security bill which will ensure food grains at highly subsidised rates to families below the poverty line.

“The states are being consulted as the success of the programme hinges critically on their commitment to reforms in the public distribution system.”

Filed under: Economy

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