Centre feels inflation heat, CCP to mull measures tomorrow

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New Delhi, Mar 30 : To mitigate the inflation heat crippling Indian economy, the Cabinet Committee on Prices will meet on Monday to assess factors responsible for soaring prices.

"The committee will generally take stock of the current price line," a senior Food and Public Distribution Department official said today.

Inflation rate surged to a 13-month high of 6.68 per cent for the week ended March 15 as against 5.92 percent a week ago mainly on account of costlier food items like vegetables and mustard oil and metal products like joist and rolls and bright bars.

Retail prices of some oils have shown a rising trend. While vanaspati oil became dearer by Rs 10 a kg to Rs 79 in the month ended March 27, mustard oil is available at Rs 79 against Rs 72.

Finance Secretary D Subbarao had said that 6.68 per cent inflation rate was partly due to high global commodity prices.

Metal and food prices spurted inflation to the highest number in over a year, much above the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) tolerance level of five percent.

On Friday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said that the Central Government would take all possible measures to curb inflation even at the cost of slowing down the economic growth.

According to analysts, the highest increase was contributed by the index for basic metals. Alloys and metal products group which rose a significant 4.4 per cent due to higher prices of items like joist and rolls, bright bars, angles, channels and sections.

On Friday, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath had said the government is looking at a proposal to ban non-basmati rice exports and is also going to recommend scrapping of import duty on steel.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would meet on April 2 to review prices of rice, wheat and procurement of edible oil, according to media reports.

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