Anti-inflationary steps likely tomorrow

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New Delhi,Jan 12 (PTI) The government is likely toannounce tomorrow a slew of steps to bring down high prices,particularly of food items, following Prime Minister ManmohanSingh''s consultations with his senior Cabinet colleaguesyesterday.

The Prime Minister''s meeting was followed by FinanceMinister Pranab Mukherjee holding discussions with Food andAgriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Planning CommissionDeputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today.

Commodities market regulator Forward Market Commission''sChairman B C Khatua was also called for consultations.

Soon after the meeting earlier in the day, Pawar saidthat the government would make an announcement in this regardlater in the evening.

Sources said the Cabinet Secretariat, in consultationwith the finance and agriculture ministries, was working onanti-inflationary measures till late in the night.

The steps being contemplated may include reduction ofduties on milk power, banning exports of wheat products andtaking more essential commodities out of the futures market.

The government has been under attack for not being ableto bring down prices, especially of food items. The foodinflation, fuelled by rising prices of vegetables, fruits,meat and egg has crossed 18 per cent on December 25.

After the Prime Minister''s consultations, the decisionof the Agriculture Ministry to export five lakh tonnes ofsugar was referred to an empowered group of ministers, headedby Mukherjee.

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