Congress leaders discuss drought, price rise

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New Delhi, Aug 19 (ANI): The Congress Working Committee (CWC) met here on Wednesday to discuss the drought-like situation in many parts of the country and also the steep rise in the prices of essential commodities.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Party president Sonia Gandhi attended the meeting and took part in the deliberations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dr. Singh had stated that the country is threatened by the drought-like situation.

India's vital monsoon rains have been 29 per cent below normal since the beginning of the June-September season, upsetting cultivation of crops such as rice and sugarcane and triggering a sharp rise in food prices.

On Monday, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said that the country needed to increase planting of winter-sown crops and improve irrigation to make up for the damage to farms.

Monsoon rains are vital for the country's summer-sown crops such as rice, sugarcane and soybean because the majority of the farmers do not have access to irrigation facilities.

Although the widely watched wholesale price index fell an annual 1.74 per cent at the start of August, its ninth straight drop, prices of food items have been rising on a weekly basis.

In its July review, the Reserve Bank of India had revised its inflation forecast to around 5 per cent by the end of March 2010 from 4 per cent projected earlier.

Poor rainfall is expected to affect farm output and put upward pressure on inflation. (ANI)

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