New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has, in the face of surging inflation, sought help from state governments to undertake intensive monitoring of commodity prices and curb speculation. The spurt in inflation to 6.73% on 3 February, is posing a political problem to the government. In recent weeks, both the Prime Minister and finance minister have come under fire for their inability to rein in the price rise.
“There is a need to strongly monitor the activities of anti-social persons who may indulge in speculation and profiteering. State governments have a major role in checking prices of essential commodities by curbing malpractices, profiteering and hoarding. You may like to put in place an appropriate mechanism for regular intensive monitoring of the prices of commodities in order to promptly detect any short-term fluctuations and take necessary corrective action,” Singh said in a letter to state chief ministers on Wednesday.
A Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson said a countrywide concern about inflation had prompted Singh to write to the states. “The supply side management has to be ultimately done by the states, which is why the concern has been flagged to them,” he said.
The PM in his letter also informed the states that the Centre had set up a monitoring cell in the Cabinet Secretariat to keep a daily watch on the price situation and provide support to the states as required.