Under intense attack over spiralling prices, the Centre on Saturday decided to set up a committee of Chief Ministers and Union ministers to suggest steps to reduce costs of food items with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserting that the worst was over.
At a conference of Chief Ministers called here to discuss the pressing concern, the Union government faced severe criticism from opposition-ruled states, with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi leading the way in blaming "faulty" policies of the Centre for the inflation.
Chief Ministers of opposition-ruled states, including Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, slammed the Centre for putting the onus of controlling price rise on states and questioned the steps being taken by the UPA government.
The meeting saw a spat between Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Modi, when the Gujarat Chief Minister said the UPA government had not fulfilled its poll promise of providing wheat and rice at concessional prices.
After the day-long deliberations, a decision was taken to constitute a Core Group of Chief Ministers and Central Ministers concerned to suggest ways to reduce prices and give relief to vulnerable sections of the society.
The Committee will include Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will also form part of the committee.