Mukherjee asks RBI to take measures to help curb price rise of food material

Kolkata, Sep.11 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has expressed concern over rising food prices and advised the central bank to take every possible measure required to bring them down while keeping options open on the fiscal front.

His concern has come ahead of monetary review by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the coming week.

Reacting on the issue of rise in food prices at the AGM of the Kolkata Chamber of Commerce held on Saturday, Mukherjee said: "I am worried."

"I have suggested to the RBI to take whatever monetary measures needed to keep prices down," he said.

Mukherjee also talked about fiscal steps required to pull down prices and asked the state governments to strengthen the public distribution system to provide food to the poor.

"The states cannot always pass on the blame to the Centre. It is also their duty," the Union Minister stated.

He also said: "For helping the disadvantaged section of the society, if we can strengthen the Public Distribution System then we can provide relief to about eight crores (80 million) families, more than 40 crores (400 million) people by providing them subsidised food grains."

Earlier, Mukherjee had promised to revamp the PDS to deliver subsidized food items and fuel.

Food inflation increased to 11.47 per cent towards the end of August from 10.38 per cent in previous week as rains disrupted supply of essential items. Cereals, fruits and milk turned dearer.

This has fuelled expectations of a rate hike by the RBI in its mid-quarter policy review on September 16, the first such assessment the central bank will be making. (ANI)

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