Price rise not at unprecedented levels: Govt

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{image-inflation+rbi_21042008.jpg}New Delhi, Apr 21: The government today said in the Lok Sabha that the prices of essential commodities had not reached ''unprecedented levels'' in the last three months. ''Only retail prices of mustard and vanaspati oil have shown an increase. Other essential commodities are either steady or declined,'' Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Akhilesh Prasad Singh said in a written reply.

The situation of prices of essential commodities was regularly monitored at high level meetings of Cabinet Committee on Prices, Committee of Secretaries and Cabinet which took decisions to keep the prices under check, he said. Price Monitoring Cell (PMC), set up under the Department of Consumer Affairs, was mandated to only monitor on a daily basis the retail prices of 14 essential commodities -- rice, wheat, atta, gram, tur/arhar, tea, milk, sugar, vanaspati, mustard oil, groundnut oil, potato, onion and salt.

It had not been set up to control or check the rise in prices of essential commodities, the Minister said.

BIRD FLU: Fresh cases of bird flu have been reported again in West Bengal and Tripura, Minister of State for Agriculture Akhilesh Prasad Singh said.

The possible factors responsible for the recurrence of bird flu outbreak were the status of neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and Pakistan where the outbreaks were continuing and India being the route of three major flyways of migratory birds.

COCONUT: The Agriculture Insurance Company of India plans to launch an insurance scheme for coconut palm growers, Minister of State for Agriculture Kanti Lal Bhuria said.

The government is considering a proposal for coconut palm insurance scheme which envisaged coverage of coconut palm and was proposed to be implemented on pilot basis in six main coconut growing states -- Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra.

BSNL: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has planned to add 30 lakh costomers a month from 2008 onwards, Minister of State for Communications Jyotiraditya Scindia said.


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