Stating that an imbalance in the demand and supply was the cause behind price rise, Union Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee said here on Monday that he was hopeful the situation will be brought under control soon.

The current situation had been caused because some people were taking advantage of the “imbalance between demand and supply,” Mr. Mukherjee said, adding that the government was taking initiatives to increase the supply line so that there was a balance with the demand ratio.

“The Centre has taken some concrete steps like liberalising imports and removal of duties” said Mr. Mukherjee.

A committee has been formed to review the situation, he added.

On February 6, the Centre decided to set up a committee comprising Mr. Mukherjee, Union Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, to suggest measures to deal with price rise and propose steps for improving public distribution system. Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are also its members.

Mr. Mukherjee also said the Centre wanted to adopt a long-term policy in order to deal with the issue, which included increasing agricultural production, reductions in wholesale and retail prices and revamping the PDS.

He was speaking to journalists at a function organised by the Asiatic Society here to award him the Indira Gandhi Gold Plaque. Mr. Mukherjee, who is the chairman of the planning board of the Society, was given the award for “his significant contribution towards human progress and international understanding,” Dilip Roy, an official of the Asiatic Society said.

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