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Every step being taken to tame inflation: PM

New Delhi: The government realises the burden inflation is imposing on citizens, much of it due to global reasons, and every step will be taken to curb the price rise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday.

“Our country is passing through a phase of sustained high inflation. Controlling rising prices is a primary responsibility of any government. Our government fully understands this responsibility,” the prime minister said in his Independence Day speech.

“I wish to assure you today that we are continuously monitoring the situation to find out what new steps can be taken to arrest rising prices. Finding a solution to this problem will be our top-most priority in the coming months.”

The comments come at a time when the country’s annual food inflation based on wholesale prices has started rising again, standing close to double-digit levels for the week ended July 30 at 9.9 percent.

The prime minister said that while continuous efforts were being made to check prices, the reasons sometimes lay outside the country — the prices 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. Sometimes we have been successful too in controlling inflation. But this success has not proved lasting.”

But for a long-term solution, the prime minister called for another Green Revolution and said they was the only way forward in addressing the twin issues of checking prices and food security.

“We need a second Green Revolution in agriculture,” he said. “We will accelerate our efforts in this direction in the 12th Plan.”

The first Green Revolution in the 1970s and 1980s, which combined high-yielding seeds and new irrigation methods, helped India lift its wheat and rice output and reach self-sufficiency in food from a heavy importer of grain.

He also assured farmers, particularly the small and marginal ones, that they would continue to get easy access to fertilisers, seeds and credit. “We also want to provide the best possible irrigation facilities to the farmers.”

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