Mukherjee calls on states to check hoarding of food grains, other items

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Kolkata, Jan1 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has suggested that state governments need to take measures to check the hoarding of food grains and other essential items of mass consumption.

Mukherjee said officials of the ministry have impressed upon the state ministers to take steps in this regard.

"As public distribution system (PDS) is to be maintained by the state government, similarly de-hording operation, we can write to them, advice them which we are doing. My colleagues have twice. Chief Ministers conference and Food Ministers conference in the last 8-9 months and this issue was impressed upon them," Mukherjee said.

Food price inflation returned to near 20 percent in mid-December, reinforcing expectations the Reserve Bank of India (central bank) could tighten policy in coming weeks to prevent a broader break-out of inflationary pressures.

The food price index rose by 19.83 percent in the 12 months as on December 19, with food prices surging after the weakest monsoon in 37 years and then floods in parts of the country hit crops.

That was higher than an annual rise of 18.65 percent a week earlier, and just below an annual 19.95 percent rise on December 02.

"We cannot control the inflation through the public distribution system but we can reduce the adverse impact through these mechanisms, at least to the vulnerable sections of the society. Today a real dichotomy has been created because we have not been able to," said Mukherjee.

"Even in monetary terms, we have been providing the subsidy but the subsidised goods and services are not reaching to the people because the mechanism through which it can reach, more than two lakh PDS outlets all over the country but they are more or less paper and these are totally in effective," he added. (ANI)

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