The day after the Finance Minister prescribed patience for those worried about the rising rate of inflation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated the sentiment on Saturday.
Singh requested for patience from the public and political parties to let measures taken by the government deliver but clearly hinted that it might be as late as mid-September that the galloping inflation could be reined in.
The first signs — if there were any — might come about in a few weeks when the prime minister expects the measures taken by the government to start making a visible difference.
The rate of inflation touched 7.83 per cent for the week ended May 3, according to figures released on Friday, as against the previous week’s 7.59 per cent.
Singh said people could expect some moderation over the next few weeks and the situation to get substantially better by mid-September if there was a normal monsoon.
“My request is to give these measures time… You will see moderation in inflation by September 15,” he said.
The prime minister has already had steel manufacturers hold on to their prices and wants cement manufacturers to do the same. Singh said he had spoken to the industries and commerce ministers to persuade the cement industry to moderate their price behaviour.
“I have been assured that action will be taken so I am hopeful,” he said. But the prime minister made it clear that if his only target was to bring the rate of inflation down, it would have been easy.
““If inflation is the only problem we could have had a drastic monetary policy — sharply reducing the money supply by raising interest rates, but that will land us in a serious industrial recession and unemployment,” he said.
“We want to control inflation without hurting the rhythm of growth which is moving forward at 8 to 9 percent in the last four years,” Singh said, adding that it was a delicate balance and would take time.