New Delhi, Jan 18 (ANI): Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday distanced himself from the price rise, and said his ministry only looked after the production of rice, wheat, pulses, sugarcane and oil seeds.
"The Agriculture Ministry in this country only looks after the production of rice, wheat, pulses, sugarcane and oil seeds. We have no control over what farmer is going to grow in his field, whether it is okra, green peas or tomatoes. Neither we have any programme regarding this," said Pawar.Food inflation fell for the first time in six weeks to 16.91 per cent for the week ended January 1, but still remains high as vegetables like onion, and protein-based items turned expensive.
Rising food prices also pushed up overall inflation for December to 8.43 per cent, from 7.48 per cent in the previous month.
Pawar, who is the chief of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre, further said that he has not asked for more ministerial berths from Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
"We have not asked them (the ruling Congress Party) to increase the number of our berths (ministers) in the Central Government's cabinet. We know what our number in Parliament is. We know how many seats we would get for this number," said Pawar.
"According to this number, we are entitled for three seats. If we are entitled for three seats, we will not ask for a fourth one. When we have the number, we will ask for more; today we don't have the number," he added. (ANI)