Top bureaucrats take stock of price situation

Top bureaucrats take stock of price situationNEW DELHI: Days before the swearing in of new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, top bureaucrats today took stock of the price situation and the government’s preparedness to deal with any possible failure of monsoon.

These issues were discussed at a meeting of secretaries of different departments and ministries that was called by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth.

“This is a regular meeting which happens periodically on prices. It is a regular thing, nothing new. Every one month it happens… We just gave our inputs,” said Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram.

Sources said the meeting also discussed, among other things, the availability of foodgrains in case there is an El Nino effect on the monsoon, a lifeline for Indian agriculture.

The inputs regarding the current food stocks and likely farm sector output were provided by the representatives of the Consumer Affairs and Agriculture Ministries.

Costlier vegetables, fruits and milk had pushed up retail inflation to three-month high of 8.59 per cent in April.

Price of vegetables went up by 17.5 per cent, fruits by 21.73 per cent and milk by 11.42 per cent during the month.

Taming inflation is the first item listed on the election manifesto of the BJP, which will assume power with Modi taking oath as Prime Minister on Monday.

The party in its manifesto said: “Our immediate task will be to rein in inflation by several steps, such as: put in place strict measures and special courts to stop hoarding and black marketing, setting up a price stabilization fund, unbundle FCI operations, etc.”

It blamed the policies of the UPA government for high inflation which “crippled household budgets and contributed to the overall inflationary trend”.

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