Strengthen PDS to tackle price rise: Pranab



Strengthen PDS to tackle price rise: Pranab New Delhi: Expressing concern over price rise, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said it was mainly due to shortage of essential commodities like pulses, sugar and edible oil and suggested strengthening of the public distribution system (PDS) to provide relief to the common man.

"Price rise is a matter of concern as it affects the common man the most. This situation is mainly due to shortage of essential commodities like pulses, sugar and edible oil. To ameliorate the effect the inflation, PDS needs to be strengthened," he told the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.

He said pulses are produced by very few countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and as they consume most of the produce, there is no scope of exporting pulses to other countries.

"Availability of sugar is 16 million tonnes but the requirement is 23 million tonnes, similarly availability of edible oil is 92 million tonnes while the requirement is 158.64 million tonnes," the minister said.

When Brinda Karat (CPI-M) wanted to know the steps the government proposed to take to tide over sugar shortage, he said if there is shortage of sugar then raw sugar would be imported.

He said inflation has no direct correlation with economic growth and the current situation has arisen due to genuine imbalance between demand and supply.

"However, at the same time we are encouraged by the 7.9 per cent economic growth during the July-September period. If this continues, then we hope to grow, but we need to be cautious," he said.

PTI