PM assures ‘reasonable price stability’

March 5th, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) The government will bring in an adequate mechanism for “reasonable price stability” without neglecting the prices that were due for farmers for their produce, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday. “We are committed to reasonable price stability, but we will not be a party to maintain so-called price stability by neglecting the prices that are to be payable to our farmers”, Manmohan Singh said while replying to a discussion on a motion of thanks to President Pratibha Patil’s address to the joint session of parliament.

Taking a dig at the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for not making efforts to stabilise prices despite a conducive atmosphere, he said: “The international prices were at an all-time low when the NDA was in office. We came to office in 2004, and the oil price per barrel was $36. Today it is close to $100.

“The NDA maintained a modicum of price stability by depressing the prices payable to our farmers. We do not want to follow that course,” he said amid loud protests from the opposition benches.

Explaining his government’s efforts to control the price rise, the prime minister said the prices of petroleum products had more than tripled in the last four years.

“But we have not increased the price of kerosene. We have made only a marginal addition to prices of diesel and petrol. We have not changed in these four years the prices payable by our farmers for their fertilisers.

“We are committed to maintaining reasonable price stability despite an adverse international environment,” Manmohan Singh said, adding that the government had raised farm prices “handsomely” while not increasing the food grain prices in ration shops in the last four years, for families living either below or above the poverty line.

Pointing out that prices of imported food grains and vegetable oils were “sky-rocketing”, he said the government would take effective steps to maintain prices to safeguard the weaker sections of society.

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