Centre to discuss on food inflation with State Mins tomorrow

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In order to control food inflation, the Centre has called a meeting of state food ministers tomorrow to discuss other possible ways to rein in prices effectively in the backdrop of poor monsoon this year.

The day-long conference will be chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and presided over by both Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

Despite government measures, prices of some food items especially onion and potato have been rising even as their production is sufficient on likely below normal monsoon.

The price rise issues and monsoon situation will be discussed during the first session and the food security act will be deliberated in the second session, a senior Food Ministry official said.

The meeting will take stock of the impact of recent measures taken to improve domestic supply of onion and potato and other food items, and will also discuss hurdles being faced by the state governments in reining in prices.

The Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) Act will also be reviewed for creating a national common market for food items removing barriers for internal trade.

The conference will take update on monsoon situation in respective states and deliberate on steps to be taken to minimise the impact of deficit rains on crops and livestock.

That apart, the meeting will address problems being faced by some states to implement the food security act, that gives two-thirds of the country's population the right to subsidised foodgrains.

At present, 25 states and union territories have not yet implemented the act. The Centre recently gave additional three months' time to state governments to implement this law.

During May, the overall inflation rose to a five-month high to 6.01 per cent, while food inflation to 9.50 per cent due to rising prices of essential food items like vegetables, fruits and cereals.

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