Anti-inflationary measures not at farmers' cost: Cong

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New Delhi, Jun 13 (UNI) Admitting that the spiralling inflation is a major concern, the Congress today said the prices of foodgrains, however, should not be brought down at the cost of farmers.

The party would like the government to do ''tight-rope walking'' and strike a balance between retail prices for the consumer and remunerative prices for the farmers, AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told reporters.

The Congress was in favour of raising the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy to Rs 1,000 a quintal, he said, expressing satisfaction over the government announcement on an ad hoc hike of Rs 105 to take the MSP to Rs 850.

Mr Ahmed said the inflation in India, which was largely due to the unprecedented hike in global crude prices, was still better than the trend in other Asian countries.

''The international scenario may cause trouble in the weeks to come,'' he said and maintained that the government had been successful in taking effective measures in the absence of which the situation would have been worse.

Asked about BJP's denial of Finance Minister P Chidambaram's contention that the MSP had to be referred to the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council because the BJP-ruled states wanted the MSP to be much lower than the CACP recommendation of Rs 1,000, the spokesman said the clarification should be sought from the Minister.

Defending the government's anti-inflationary measures, he said inflation had stayed above 8.8 per cent for 21 weeks in 2001-02 when the NDA was in power.

UNI SN RP HS1755

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