Under attack for rising prices, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the government was making every possible effort to control "high inflation" and insulate poor from its adverse impact.
"I know that in the last few months high inflation has caused you difficulties. It is the poor who are the worst affected by rising prices, especially when the prices of commodities of every day use like foodgrains, pulses, vegetables increase.
"It is for this reason that we have endeavoured to minimise the burden of increased prices on the poor," Singh said while speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 64th Independence Day.
The opposition BJP and the Left parties have attacked the government over surging food prices. With Parliament disrupted for a week on the issue, an understanding was reached between the two sides following which a resolution was adopted in the two Houses asking the government to take further steps to control price rise.
Singh refrained from giving any time frame for containing inflation. He had last month said, while addressing the National Development Council, that inflation would come down to around 6 per cent by December this year.
"Today I do not want to go into the detailed reasons for high inflation. But I would certainly like to say that we are making every possible effort to tackle this problem. I am also confident that we will succeed in these efforts," he said.
The overall inflation has been over 10 per cent for five consecutive months till June, while food inflation stood at 11.40 per cent for the week ended July 31.
He, however, said that increase in support prices for farmers for wheat and paddy has resulted in increase in food prices in the open market.
"The support price for wheat was enhanced to Rs 1,100 per quintal last year from Rs 630 a quintal in 2003-04. In paddy, this increase was from Rs 550 per quintal to Rs 1,000 per quintal. But one effect of providing higher prices to farmers is that food prices in the open market also increase," he added.
He said though agricultural performance has improved substantially in the last few years, it is still far from the goal of four per cent growth per annum.