The Union government is taking all steps to check the rise in prices of essential commodities, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Wednesday, even as he warned against hoarding and profiteering.

Imports of certain commodities were being arranged to bridge the gap between availability and demand as well as to safeguard the interests of vulnerable sections of society.

Commodities such as rice, wheat, edible oil, sugar and kerosene would be provided at subsidised rates to those living below the poverty line. State governments have been asked to strengthen the public distribution system, he said.

On the Congress-Trinamool Congress electoral alliance, the Minister, who is also president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, said that it was on and would continue to be so in the future.

The two parties were contesting the coming by-elections jointly in 10 Assembly seats, with the Trinamool putting up its nominees in seven constituencies and the Congress in three.

“We are confident that the alliance, which reached an understanding in a natural way, will win all the 10 seats,” Mr. Mukherjee said.