Trade unions urge Mukherjee to curb price rise

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New Delhi, Jan 15 (ANI): Various trade union leaders met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for pre-budget discussions on Thursday and urged him to control the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.

"We have pleaded that the next budget should have its main objective to curb the price rise of the food articles. The government should seriously curb speculation in the food price, forward training. Government should stop unnecessary export of food grains and at the same time take firm steps to curb profit making, black marketing speculation food trade," said Gurudas Dasgupta, General Secretary, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Communist Party of India lawmaker.

The trade union leaders also demanded better labour laws in the budget.

"We have demanded provisions against inflation, for strengthening public distribution system (PDS), measures to check black marketing, violation of labour laws in unorganised sector, women workers," Dasgupta added.

India ordered the sale of stocked grain and extended duty-free sugar imports by another nine months, hoping to rein in high food inflation and head off the need for raising interest rates.

An 11.7 percent surge in industrial output in November, the fastest in two years, following rapid economic growth in the September quarter, has sparked concern the central bank would tighten policy later this month to temper inflation expectations.

Mukherjee had earlier said that he is hopeful that the growth rate of Asia's third largest economy could touch eight percent in the fiscal year to March 2010, faster than 6.7 percent in the previous year.

India will present its annual budget on February 26 and was aiming at enacting legislation in the second half of this year for introducing a new Goods and Services Tax (GST). (ANI)

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