Agriculture ministry can''t be blamed for price rise: Pawar

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Pune, Jan 15 (PTI) Union Agriculture Minister SharadPawar today asserted it was ''not right'' to blame his ministryfor the rising prices, saying policies to control inflationare discussed and formulated at the "highest level" involvingparticipation of Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

"It is a collective decision-making process in whichinflation control measures are discussed at the highest level,including Prime Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and economicadviser to the PM. We gather state-wise information forguidelines to form a policy", Pawar told reporters at Manchar,about 100 km from Pune.

Responding to a suggestion that Congress was targetingNCP on this issue, Pawar only said, "It is not right to blameagriculture ministry for the price-rise."

"The responsibility of agriculture ministry is to seethat adequate production of wheat, rice, sugar and oilseeds istaking place in the country. Now we have stocks for the nexttwo to three years. In India, wheat, rice and sugar arecheaper, compared to other countries", the NCP chief said.

Pawar, who attended a function at a dairy plant atManchar, said he was not aware of the proposed meeting ofFinance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with the state financeministers to discuss price-rise.

"It could be a pre-budget discussion", he said.

Replying to another query, Pawar said the ban on onionexports would be reviewed when the situation warrants it.

On milk prices, he said the hike was due to the gapbetween demand and supply. The minister said the governmentwas considering offering incentives for development of dairysector.

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