Admitting that poor people are the worst hit due to rising food
prices, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the government
is making every effort to control inflation, which has been over 10
per cent for last several months.
“It is the poor who are the worst affected by rising prices,
especially when the prices of commodities of every day use like
foodgrains, pulses, vegetables increase ... We are making every
possible effort to tackle the problem ...,” Dr. Singh said on the
64th anniversary of Independence Day.
The food inflation was at 11.40 per cent during the week ended July
31, 2010, while the overall inflation was 10.55 per cent in June
It is for this reason that the government has endeavoured to
minimise the burden of increased prices on the poor, he said, while
exuding confidence that “we will succeed in these efforts.”
Although Dr. Singh took pride in offering high support prices to
farmers since 2004, he said that this also resulted in increased
food prices in the open market.
“The support price for wheat was enhanced to Rs. 1,100 per quintal
last year from Rs. 630 per quintal in 2003-04. In paddy, this
increase was from Rs. 550 per quintal to Rs 1,000 per quintal. But
one effect of providing higher prices to farmers is that food prices
in the open market also increase,” he said.
He, however, defended the recent hike in petroleum prices saying
India imports nearly 80 per cent of its requirement and the subsidy
was increasing every year.
“If this had not been done, it would not have been possible for our
budget to bear the burden of subsidy and our programmes for
education, health and employment of the poor would have been
adversely affected,” Dr. Singh said.