Top priority to bringing down prices: Pawar
New Delhi, Dec 4 (UNI) Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today assured the Lok Sabha that the government would accord ''highest priority'' to bringing down the rising prices of essential commodities, especially rice, wheat and pulses.
Replying to a three-day discussion under Rule 193 on rising prices, Mr Pawar said the government would continue to import wheat and pulses in a bid to moderate their prices.
The government was not in favour of imports, but it had no option as the food stock position had to be improved to bridge the demand- supply gap, he said.
The Centre was hopeful of checking the price rise as the production of rice and wheat was expected to improve in the current season as the moisture content was good, the Minister said.
It had done its best to contain the galloping inflation by not passing on to the consumer the impact of more than doubling of crude prices in the international market in the past few months, he said.
In his brief reply, amid pandemonium caused by slogan shouting BJP MPs who were protesting against the arrest of party President Rajnath Singh in West Bengal, Mr Pawar said the prices of pulses were on the rise because of shortfall in production.
Import of pulses from neighbouring Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh could not be undertaken in a big way because of production shortfall in these countries as well, he said.
Sugar prices were expected to moderate as production was expected to be improve significantly, he said.
Earlier, resuming the debate, Mr Lal Singh (Cong) wanted remunerative prices for farmers.
UNI SN MIR HT1345