New Delhi: Under attack over upward spiralling of prices, the government on Wednesday took a slew of measures to increase availability of sugar, pulses and other commodities and hoped rates of the sweetener, being sold at nearly Rs50 a kg, would start declining in a week’s time.
To increase the availability of sugar, the government relaxed the norms for processing of raw sugar and allowed duty-free import of white sugar till December-end.
A host of decisions, including selling of 2-3 million tonnes of wheat and rice in the open market over the next two months and asking state-owned trading firms to intensify import of pulses, was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet committee on prices chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told reporters that the Prime Minister would convene a Chief Ministers’ meeting in the last week of this month to discuss prices situation and take stern action against hoarders.
These steps, Pawar said “would definitely impact the price situation... Prices would come down in 4 to 8 days.”
The government has come under intense criticism from all parties, including UPA partner Trinamool Congress, for rising food inflation, which soared to a decade’s high of about 20 per cent in December.