Kolkata: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
today asked the state governments to strengthen public
distribution system in view of sustained price rise of
"We have asked the states to strengthen the PDS to
protect the poor and weaker sections of society," Mukherjee
told reporters here.
The cause of price rise, he said, had been largely due
to cost-push inflation due to hike in the purchase prices of
paddy and wheat.
The Finance Minister also said that since the country
was deficient in production of edible oil and pulses, the
government had allowed import of these items at zero duty.
"We have told states to import these items," he said.
He said that the government would provide essential
items like rice, wheat, sugar, kerosene oil and edible oil at
highly subsidised rates.
Prices of pulses, especially tur have gone up by 50 per
cent to Rs 90 a kg in the past six months while sugar rates
have almost doubled to Rs 36 a kg in the last one year. Rice
has become dearer by 25 per cent in the last five months.