Changing food habits causing inflation: Thomas

October 28th, 2011 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Changing food habits and increased purchasing power were causing high food inflation in the country, a minister said Friday.

“Food habits of people are changing. Their purchasing power is up. This is causing food inflation,” Food Minister K.V. Thomas told IANS.

Food inflation touched 11.43 percent Thursday, raising concern within the government. Food inflation was 7.5 percent in 2006-07 and had increased to 14 percent in 2010-11.

“There is no inflation in foodgrain, it is in items like milk, poultry, meat and vegetables,” Thomas said.

Observing there was “scarcity of milk” in the country, the food minister said its price cannot be subsidised.

Stating that fluctuation in high prices of essential items was a concern, the food minister expressed hope it would soon stablise.

Thomas said the hike in the minimum support price (MSP) over the past many years also contributed to food inflation. However, this was unavoidable as the farmers had to be given better prices for their produce.

“MSP hikes impact the market prices of foodgrains,” said Thomas.

The government recently hiked the MSP for the rabi crop to expand the area under cultivation.

Stating that the food subsidy bill is now Rs.63,000 crore, he said subsidised foodgrain was being provided to people under the public distribution system.

Thomas said better production of items like milk, poultry, meat and vegetables and better storage facilities for them was needed to tackle inflation in the long term.

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