Inflation-hit India to import food items, finmin rapped

Inflation-hit India to import food items, finmin rapped

New Delhi: The government will import essential commodities to improve supplies, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said, as food inflation touched a 10-year high.

“Food prices are going up and this is an area of concern ... we have to take appropriate measures to see what best could be done by augmenting the supply through imports," he told reporters.

Food inflation soared to a decade’s high of 19.95% for the week ended 5 December on rising prices of essential food items like potato, other vegetables and pulses.

The Standing Committee on Finance in its report tabled in Parliament earlier in the day, pulled up the finance ministry for not taking timely action to contain inflation and asked the government to put a temporary embargo on essential food items like onions and amend the Essential Commodities Act to check hoarding and speculation.

A host of steps, including zero import duty on wheat, pulses and crude edible oil and allowing imports of various commodities like sugar and rice, have already been taken by the government to tame food prices.

RBI, which had earlier pegged the fiscal-end overall inflation at 5%, revised its forecast to 6.5% and is expected to increase interest rate in January review of its monetary policy.