New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) "Deeply concerned" over the impactof rising prices on aam aadmi (common man), President PratibhaPatil today said the government would accord top priority tofighting inflation.
The top priority of the government in 2011-12 "will be tocombat inflation and, in particular to protect the common manfrom the impact of rising food prices,"she said in her addressto Parliament marking the beginning of the Budget Session.
"My Government is deeply concerned over the adverse impactof inflation on the aam aadmi and the threat it poses to thegrowth momentum", the President said.
While the food inflation had touched 18.32 per cent inDecember, 2010, before moderating to over 11 per cent thismonth, the overall inflation still stood above eight per centas against the comfort level of 5-6 per cent.
The long-term solution to deal with rising inflation liesin raising agricultural productivity, she said, pointing outthat rate of price rise had remained a problem during the lastyear.
The government, she said, took a number of pro-activemeasures to counter rising prices of food items and combatinflation.
"The import regime has been liberalised to ease supplyconstraints of critical items. Exports of commodities likeedible oils and pulses have been banned. Pulses are beingsupplied at subsidised prices through the public distributionsystem," the President said.
The public sector units, she said, were directed to openmore retail outlets for selling vegetables to individualconsumers. "These steps have shown results," Patil added.
"In fact, inflation was declining until November lastwhen unseasonal rains in some states, led to a spurt invegetable prices. These prices have come down again followingthe arrival of the fresh crop," she said.