M A I N   N E W S

Inflation leaps to 7 pc
Export sops on basmati rice withdrawn
Bhagyashree Pande
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Bad news on the inflation front continues as the inflation rate for the week ended March 22 surged to a three-year high at 7 per cent, compared to its previous week’s level of 6.68 per cent, on account of higher food and metal prices.

The annual inflation rate was 6.54 per cent during the corresponding week of the previous year, an official statement said.

Finance minister P. Chidambaram, during the week, had reiterated the government’s efforts of keeping the inflation rates under control. During the week, prices of fruits and vegetable, pulses, cereals, eggs, meat and fish went up, while condiments and spices were cheaper. The mineral category-index shot up by 38.2 per cent driven by 46 per cent rise in prices of iron ore.

In the manufactured items category, sunflower oil, vanaspati, butter, mustard oil, sugar and groundnut oil became expensive, while prices of ghee, coconut oil mellowed down by 1 per cent each.

Meanwhile, the government has warned that it will not hesitate to take stern measures against hoarders and profiteers in view of the spiraling prices of essential commodities to curb rising inflation. “We will not hesitate to take the strictest measures, including using legal provisions, against hoarding and profiteering whether in food, cement or steel,” commerce minister Kamal Nath said in Singapore while unveiling ‘Incredible India-60’ conference.

Taking a stringent action to curb inflation, the government today stopped export incentives on basmati rice. The directorate general of foreign trade said export of basmati should not be entitled for any duty incentives as were given on exports of this product. The government has already banned export of non-basmati rice and revised upward the minimum export price for the basmati.

It may be recalled that the government on Monday had decided to abolish import duty on crude form of edible oils, cut rate on refined edible oils and ban non-basmati exports among other measures to ease the pressure off prices.



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