No need to panic on food front; prices will come down: PM

No need to panic on food front; prices will come down: PM

"I will be the last one to deny that the behaviour of food prices in the last one year is some thing which does not worry us," Singh said while replying to the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address in the Lok Sabha.

The government, he said, has taken all possible measures to check the rising prices of essential commodities and it would adopt all "practical methods" to provide further relief to the people.

Singh, however, asserted that there should be "no panic on the food situation front" in view of comfortable level of food stocks that are available with the central government.
Rabi crop (winter) prospects are also very encouraging. Post-monsoon rains have been good. All this augurs well for food prices to stabilise at a reasonable level, he added.
The food inflation had touched a decade high of 19.7 per cent in December last year before moderating marginally to about 17 per cent in the recent weeks.

Referring to the economic growth during the current fiscal, Singh said it could be 7.5 per cent, more than the official estimates of 7.2 per cent as projected by the statistical wing of the government.He also exuded confidence of achieving eight per cent or higher next financial year and return to nine per cent growth a year after.

The government is working towards the double-digit growth rate, Singh said, adding "this is the vision that our government is working to realise".

Later speaking in Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister said, "if we manage India's social and economic infrastructure (well) and reduce the scope of corruption, there is a great opportunity... perhaps we can be the fastest growing economy of the world".
Besides strong fundamentals, Singh's optimism is based on high savings and investment rates of over 35 per cent of the GDP, which he said, were "miracle rates", used to be associated with South East Asian economies and China.One of the major tasks before the government, he said, would be to raise productivity of the farm sector.

"We are committed to continuing our efforts to increase both public and private investment in agriculture and diversifying agriculture", he added.Referring to the steps taken by the government to deal with the price situation, Singh said, "these measures have started bearing fruits as prices of some of the items like sugar and pulses have started showing a downward trend."

The government, he said, had released four million tonnes of wheat and rice to state governments and bulk consumers and imported sugar to augment supplies and ease pressure on prices. Responding to Opposition's allegation of exporting sugar at a time when the domestic prices were rising because of shortages, Singh said India exported only small quantities to meet international commitments.

"The amount of sugar that India has exported relative to imports, is so small that it is surprising that so much is being made out of this," he added.In November 2009, India exported sugar worth Rs 7.94 Correy, against the import of Rs 611.40 crore. Similarly in December 2009, exports amounted to Rs 12.34 crore, against imports of Rs 216.90 crore. 

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