Special Correspondent

Check hoarders: Manmohan

  • States told to contact monitoring cell for supply bottlenecks
  • Cabinet Committee on Prices for tax cuts

    NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written a letter to the States stressing the need to implement de-hoarding measures to check price rise.

    This comes in the wake of a gathering sense of disquiet over rising prices in the Congress Working Committee.

    At the same time, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which took stock of the situation on Thursday, wanted fiscal, monetary and related measures to check price rise.

    Dr. Singh said in his letter: "As you may appreciate, the increase in the prices of some [essential] commodities has also been fuelled by speculation in the market. Considering the need for curbing speculation in some of the commodities, particularly pulses, the Forward Markets Commission has banned trading in urad and tur. There is, however, a need to strongly monitor the activities of anti-social persons who may indulge in speculation and profiteering."

    With the Centre deciding to set up a special monitoring cell to keep a daily watch on the price situation and provide support to States, Dr. Singh asked States to approach the cell for removing bottlenecks in the availability of essential commodities. States too should set up a similar cell for regular intensive monitoring to detect any short-term fluctuations and take corrective action.

    For efficient PDS

    Dr. Singh laid stress on an efficient Public Distribution System to ensure the availability of essentials to low and middle-income consumers.

    Outlining the steps taken to ensure price stability and step up the availability of essentials, including pulses, edible oils, wheat and milk, he said 55 lakh tonnes of wheat was being imported, apart from imports by private trade at zero duty.

    Import of pulses was permitted under zero duty and private enterprises had been asked to augment availability through imports, particularly of urad and moong. Import duties on palm and sunflower oil had been reduced progressively. The export of milk powder had been banned enabling greater availability to domestic consumers.

    "I look forward to your personal intervention to help control prices and for ensuring adequate supplies of essential commodities to the consumer,'' Dr. Singh said.

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