Govt likely to announce measures to bring down prices today

Govt likely to announce measures to bring down prices today
New Delhi: The government is likely to announce today a slew of steps to bring down high prices, particularly of food items, following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's consultations with his senior Cabinet colleagues on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister's meeting was followed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee holding discussions with Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday.

Commodities market regulator Forward Market Commission's Chairman B C Khatua was also called for consultations.

Soon after the meeting, Pawar said that the government would make an announcement in this regard later on Wednesday evening.

Sources said the Cabinet Secretariat, in consultation with the finance and agriculture ministries, was working on anti-inflationary measures till late Wednesday night.

The steps being contemplated may include reduction of duties on milk power, banning exports of wheat products and taking more essential commodities out of the futures market.

The government has been under attack for not being able to bring down prices, especially of food items. The food inflation, fuelled by rising prices of vegetables, fruits, meat and egg has crossed 18 per cent on December 25.

After the Prime Minister's consultations, the decision of the Agriculture Ministry to export five lakh tonnes of sugar was referred to an empowered group of ministers, headed by Mukherjee.