Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday admitted to the government’s failure in controlling sugar prices and said ways of ensuring such a crisis never occurs again need to be found.
“If there is a failure of economic policy, it is with regard to sugar... we have not been able to find a practical and pragmatic way to deal with the cyclical behaviour of sugarcane production,” Singh told the Rajya Sabha while replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address.
“I do admit weakness,” he added, referring to the government’s failure to realise the cyclical nature of the crop that changes every few years.
On overall price rise of the past few months, he said the worst was over. “We’ll look at more effective means to control inflation in the coming months,” he stated.
The government was worried by the behavior of food prices over the past year, he said.
“We have taken steps and are ready to take any practical measures that gives relief to people,” Singh said.
Food inflation currently stands at over 17 per cent.
On India-Pakistan relations, he repeated his words uttered while returning from Saudi Arabia earlier this week: “Dialogue is the only way forward for civilized countries to resolve their problems…The chances of miscalculation can only increase in an environment of no contact,” he said, making similar statements in both houses.
The opposition BJP professed disappointment with the prime minister’s speech. Arun Jaitley, BJP leader in the Rajya Sabha, was caustic.
"The Prime Minister has not talked about any steps that will be translated into action. Price rise cannot be tackled by cliches and templates of the usual nature," Jaitley said.