Persistent inflation a concern: PM

April 21st, 2011 - 3:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Though food inflation has come down from double digits, it is still a cause of concern, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Thursday.

“During the past year and a half, persistent inflation, especially in the food sector, has become a cause for concern,” he said at the inauguration of the Civil Services Day here.

India’s food inflation nudged up after three successive weeks of decline to 8.74 percent for the week ended April 9.

“Although the situation has improved in recent months, and food inflation has come down to single digit levels, the long term solution lies in increased production and productivity in the agriculture sector,” Manmohan Singh told bureaucrats of the country.

“The needs of a growing and increasingly more prosperous population can only be met by enhanced production of a diversified basket of agricultural products,” Manmohan Singh added.

Though the Reserve Bank of India has hiked its short-term lending and borrowing rates by 25 basis points each for the eighth time in 15 months, the effect on rising prices has not been as desired by the government.

According to latest figures, the annual rate of inflation too had shown an increase, rising to 8.98 percent in March from 8.31 percent the month before, way above the target of 8 percent set by the central bank.

“Our consistent policy has been to control inflation without hurting growth,” Manmohan Singh said.

“The civil services have a major role to play in achieving a higher rate of growth in agriculture sector. At the state level, some of the brightest officers should be appointed to agricultural commissioners and steps should be taken to upgrade extension services.”

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