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Poor worst affected by price rise, says PM

delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2010 12:21 IST
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Admitting that poor people are the worst hit due to rising food prices, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the government is making every effort to control inflation, which has been over 10 per cent for last several months.

"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 ... We are making every possible effort to tackle the problem ...," Singh said on the 63rd anniversary of Independence Day.

The food inflation was at 11.40 per cent during the week ended July 31, 2010, while the overall inflation was 10.55 per cent in June this year.

It is for this reason that the government has endeavoured to minimise the burden of increased prices on the poor, he said, while exuding confidence that "we will succeed in these efforts."

Although Singh took pride in offering high support prices to farmers since 2004, he said that this also resulted in increased food prices in the open market.

"The support price for wheat was enhanced to Rs 1,100 per quintal last year from Rs 630 per 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 said.

He, however, defended the recent hike in petroleum prices saying India imports nearly 80 per cent of its requirement and the subsidy was increasing every year.

"If this had not been done, it would not have been possible for our budget to bear the burden of subsidy and our programmes for education, health and employment of the poor would have been adversely affected," Singh said.