New Delhi, Apr 11: As the inflation rate touched 7.41 per cent, the Government today maintained that it was not due to the fault of its policies and blamed it on the global conditions.
However, the government asked the state governments to effectively implement the Essential Commodities Act by taking action against hoarders and blackmarketeers. A meeting of the Union Cabinet did not discuss the rising inflation, but the government assured that it would take further measures to rein in the prices.
"We are very much concerned about the situation. But we don't have a magic wand. If more measures are required, they will be taken," Science and Technology Minister Kabil Sibal, who briefed mediapersons on the deliberations of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said.
Attributing the rising inflation to different factors, Mr Sibal said there was reduced production of foodgrains due to global climate change, low level of stocks, higher consumption in emerging economies and demand for bio-fuel production.
"These are the global factors that lead to price rise and inflation. We are importing inflation." In this context, he cited the rate of inflation in many countries which is higher than India's 7.41 per cent. Inflation rate in China was 8.7 per cent, Russia-11.9 per cent and Turkey-eight percent.
Mr Sibal said low and middle income countries had experienced substantial hike in agricultural products during 2007-08. The percentage of increase in fat products had been more than 71 per cent and grains 105 per cent. The local food prices had also gone up. The price of coconut oil has increased by 67 per cent, Palm oil-52 per cent, Soyabean oil-62 per cent, rice-72 per cent, meat products-72 per cent, banana-76 per cent and sugar-35 per cent.
Asked why the measures already taken by the government had not created any impact, Mr Sibal said : "It is not like a lab test where you get the results immediately." Replying to a question, he said the government had been taking care of the weaker sections through the Public Distribution system.
The PDS was working effectively. There was enough stock of food articles for PDS supply.
To repeated questions, he said "the inflation is not our mistake." Asked if the rising prices would have any impact on the prospects of the Congress in the forthcoming elections, he said : "Our concern is inflation."