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Economy May 14, 2012

Agri marketing reforms needed to check inflation: Pranab

New Delhi: Expressing concern over rise in food inflation, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the prices could be kept under check through institutional reforms in agricultural marketing and he would discuss the issue with states.

Reacting to the latest WPI inflation data, he said the rise in prices of food items could be checked by creating storage facilities and bringing in institutional reforms in agricultural marketing.

"Food inflation is a matter of concern, particularly it has reached the double digit...Food inflation can be tackled by creating storing facilities and cold chain and institutional reforms in the agricultural marketing are also needed.

PTI

"In both these areas state governments have to take appropriate steps, I will also discuss with them," Mukherjee said.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation shot up marginally to 7.23 percent in April against 6.89 percent in the previous month. On the food front, the inflation increased to 10.49 percent in April from 10.66 percent in March.

The rise in inflation is due to spurt in prices of vegetables, fruits meat, milk, pulses, and other items.

Mukherjee, however expressed satisfaction over the decline in core inflation and those of manufactured items. "...core inflation is on whole satisfactory...and manufacturing is also under declining trend," Mukherjee added.

"There has been some marginal increase in the numbers... On the whole, I feel that inflation will be 6.5-7 percent for 2012-13," he said.

Agriculture marketing is a state subject and most of the states have their own Agricultural Produce Market Committees Act (APMC) to regulate such sales.

The Central government circulated a model APMC Bill to bring reforms in the agricultural sector. However, so far only 16 states have amended their Acts based on the model provided by the centre.

PTI

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