Today's Paper

`Inflation will be contained'

NEW DELHI, AUG. 21. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said here today that his Government would bring inflation under control but attributed the spurt to rising international oil prices and the fears of impending drought.

"We are confident of bringing the situation under control, let there be no doubt on that front,'' Dr. Singh said addressing the All-India Congress Committee. The hour-long speech dealt with various facets of governance and outlined his Government's policies and programmes spelt out in the Common Minimum Programme of the United Progressive Alliance.

Revival of monsoon

Commenting on the concerns over the rise in prices and the Opposition criticism of his Government's management of it, Dr. Singh said the situation was better now with the revival of monsoon and improved supplies in the market. The persistence of the rising trend of inflation was largely on account of the oil prices and "misguided policies'' of the previous National Democratic Alliance Government on money supply and energy. Price stability was one of the highest priorities for his Government, he said and added that the objective was to have growth with enhanced investment and price stability.

River waters issue

The prospect of yet another drought was one of the major challenges, Dr. Singh said, underscoring that unlike the previous regime, his Government was pro-active and had swung into action. He made a special mention of the sharing of river waters, which became a national issue after the Congress-led Government in Punjab passed an Act terminating all existing water sharing agreements. "Water has emerged as a major national challenge. We cannot allow the sacred waters of our ancient land to divide us. I urge all of you to take a national and holistic perspective on this national issue.''

The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, who spoke before Dr. Singh, too, made a critical reference stating that while the States could have own perspective and defend its rights, national interest was supreme.