Prime Minister assures to 'tame' inflation

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{image-manmohan singh_08052008.jpg}Bangalore, May 8: Saying that the high-inflation rate in the country had international dimensions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured the nation that UPA government will take all necessary measures to 'tame the price rise' and bring it down to 'reasonable level' in the coming months.

Addressing an in-door Congress party meeting in view of the coming Assembly elections in Karnataka, the Prime Minister expressed concern over the rising inflation and resultant prices of commodities going up, said steep hike in oil prices at International market was one of the main reason. "Oil prices were around 35 USD per barrel in 2004 and now touched 120 USD per barrel," he said. Adding to this food grain and commodity prices have also risen substantially worldwide. Despite this adverse scenario the UPA government was making strenuous efforts to shield the poor and the vulnerable from its ill-effect, he said.

Dr Singh strongly advocated Congress as the only political party which had concern for the marginalised sections of the society. The UPA Government would go ahead with its agenda of making life of the poor little easier despite adverse economic conditions, he said. Stating that kerosene and LPG prices had been hardly touched in the last four years, he said the prices of crude and edible oil in the world market had risen but they were kept low in India.

''This shows the concern of the UPA both for the poor and the farmers alike. The government has not touched the issue price of foodgrains for BPL card holders, while the support prices for wheat and rice have been doubled,'' he said.

Hoping that the country would witness a bumper crop this year Dr Singh informed the procurement of foodgrains had been 'excellent'.

''I am confident that in the coming months, we will tame inflation and bring it back to reasonable levels,'' he assured.

Pointing out several programems which the UPA Government at the Centre had launched, Mr Singh said, ''The last four years have seen us put into place the architecture needed for inclusive economic growth in the country.''

Referring to National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which provided a legal right to the rural poor to work for at least 100 days a year, Dr Singh said that for the first time in the country, special focus was being given to improve infrastructure facilities in urban areas. Through Bharat Nirman, infrastructure was being upgraded.

Agriculture and irrigation, which had been relatively neglected in the last few years, had got renewed thrust through the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and the Food Security Mission.

The debt relief of over Rs 60,000 crore to small and marginal farmers and Rs 35,000 crore allocation to agriculture sector was expected to provide required boost to transform Indian agriculture.

Blaming the previous NDA Government for not having any such programmes to improve the economic conditions of both rural and urban people, Dr Singh charged, ''They did not deliver high economic growth and consequently could not raise adequate revenues.'' Dr Singh said that despite the worries over inflation, the UPA Government's record on economic front was excellent.

''We have ensured macro-economic stability on one hand and a climate conducive to enterprise and creativity prevails in the country on the other,'' he said.

The government's strategy had manifested in growth rates averaging almost nine per cent per annum in the last few years.

Claiming that the benefit of stubborn economic growth had reached every section of society, he said it had enabled the government to raise the required resources for huge allocations to social developmental programmes.

Stating that the falling tax-GDP ratio had now risen to almost 12 per cent, Dr Singh said, ''we have ensured that taxes remain moderate.'' Due to rationalised and reduced tax rates, the middle and lower middle classes had been benefitted, the Prime Minister claimed.


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