Singh pledges to curb rising prices

From the Red Fort: Not achieved lasting success in tackling inflation: PM

In his Independence Day address, Singh said the country is passing through a phase of sustained high inflation and it is the primary responsibility of any government to curb rising prices.

“The price of petroleum products, foodgrains and edible oil have risen steeply in international markets in recent times. Since we import these products in large quantities, any rise in their prices adds to inflationary pressure in our country,” the Prime Minister explained.

Stating that both food and general inflation have remained high, he said last year, India’s oil import bill was about $106 billion, when the average crude oil price was hovering around $55 to $60 per barrel.

The Reserve Bank of India has embraced a hawkish monetary policy to tame inflation, which touched 9.44 per cent in June. Food inflation jumped to a four-and--a-half month high of 9.90 per cent in the last week of July.

Grappling with rising inflation for more than a year, the central bank has hiked interest rates 11 times since March 2010.

In its Economic Outlook for 2011-12 released earlier this month, the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council had projected headline inflation to remain high at around 9 per cent till October.

Referring to problems in land acquisition, the PM also promised a balanced law soon to prevent tensions over this sensitive issue.

Land acquisition

Noting the disturbances in some parts of the country over acquisition of land for industry, infrastructure and urbanisation, he said the government will ensure that “no injustice is done to anyone in the process of land acquisition.”

He said, “Our farmers have been especially affected by such acquisition. Land acquisition is no doubt necessary for projects of public interest. But it should take place in a transparent and fair manner. The interests of those whose livelihoods are dependent on the land being acquired should be fully protected.”

“We have already prepared a draft legislation and have initiated steps to build consensus on it. We will soon introduce a Bill in Parliament,” he said.

Kashmir peaceful

Amid a separatist-sponsored general strike and tight security arrangements,  Independence Day passed off peacefully in Kashmir on Monday.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah unfurled the national flag at Bakhshi Stadium here. He congratulated the people for maintaining peace in the Valley and foiling the designs of vested interests to create another civilian unrest in the state.

“Our efforts for peace are yielding positive results. Dialogue process between central government and Kashmiri leadership and Indo-Pak talks are showing positive results.

The prime minister and home minister have assured me that the recommendations of the central interlocutors on Kashmir will be implemented in letter and spirit,” he said.

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