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Cell to check price rise yet to be set up

The failure of the Delhi Govt to implement one of its Cabinet decisions to check price rise has cost it dear, reports Amitabh Shukla.
Hindustan Times | By Amitabh Shukla, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2008 03:35 AM IST

The failure of the Delhi government to implement one of its Cabinet decisions to check price rise has cost it dear. Ten months after the Cabinet passed a proposal to set up a Market Intelligence and Forecasting Cell in the Food and Supplies Department to monitor the price movement of 12 items of essential commodities, the decision is yet to be implemented.

On June 4 last year, the Delhi Cabinet decided to set up the Cell after the loss of the Congress in the MCD elections in which price rise was a major factor. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had then said the Cell would be an effective mechanism to control rising prices of essential commodities.

Thanks to red tape and bureaucratic apathy, the proposal still remains on paper even as the prices of essential commodities have risen to 50 per cent in some items and between 25 to 50 percent in almost all items of daily use.

Food and Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf told the Hindustan Times on Monday that the department did not get suitable candidates to head the Cell even after advertising for the post. “I have asked the Chief Secretary to expedite the matter at the earliest,” he said.

The mandate of the Market Intelligence Cell was to compute the arrival data of each commodity on a daily basis and compare it with the quantity and prices for the same period in the last two years. It was also mandated to study the impact on prices of natural and unnatural calamities in the areas of production and collect comprehensive information with respect to each commodity.

The other functions would be to keep an eye on international trends of each commodity, find out the price trend in the international market and forecast the price trend to take corrective actions.

The items to be monitored include rice, pulses, fresh fruits, potato, sugar, fish, wheat, vegetables, onion, milk, eggs and poultry.

“After the failure to attract talent for the post, the government diluted the norms and decided to bring an Economic Advisor on deputation. This too has made little headway,” said a senior government official.

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