Making a suo moto statement in the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee said: “I would like to share with this august House the policy framework that we hope will bring down the inflation rate to more acceptable levels in the next 6 to 12 months.”
“The government is committed to bring down inflation to more acceptable levels. I hope to see the March end inflation between 6 to 7 per cent. While we are doing all that we can do to address the issue, I look forward to suggestions from the floor of the House that can help us in addressing this concern,” he added.
Asserting that public investments need to be increased to meet this objective, Mukherjee said: “We at the Centre are addressing the policy lacunas and creating mechanisms to catalyse the required activities, The State Governments also have to do the needful in several areas, particularly so in agricultural extension, public investment in agriculture and in agriculture marketing as it falls under their purview under the Constitutional division of responsibilities.”
Mukherjee also said that there is an urgent need to amend and enforce the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act to enable farmers to bring their products directly to the retail outlets and vice versa.
He also said there is urgent need to take steps to have unhindered flow of food and other perishable items from one region to another.
Calling for accelerated Public Distribution System (PDS) reforms to ensure food security for the poor, Mukherjee said expeditious action is being taken to create storage space for centrally procured food grains.
“PDS is an important vehicle to address price rise. In fact the moderate inflation in cereals has been facilitated by improved PDS operations in some states. Accelerated PDS reforms are essential and States need to take the necessary initiative as we move towards a food security Act to insulate the poor and vulnerable from the impact of food inflation,” he added. (ANI)