States to revamp PDS to protect poor from inflation - Govt

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has asked states to revamp the public distribution system to protect the poor from inflation. Talking to reporters at Jangipur in West Bengal Mukherjee said the government programme for providing subsidised rice and wheat to 6.5 crore below poverty line or BPL families can be successfully implented only if the public distribution system is revamped. The Finance Minister pointed out that inflation numbers have started coming down and all three consumer price indexes and wholesale price-based inflation numbers are in single digits for the first time in sixteen months. He also said, Reserve Bank of India will try to strike a balance between growth and inflation at its monetary policy review next week. The central bank will come out with monetary policy review next week. However, he refused to give any guidance on the steps likely to be taken by the central bank at its November 2 monetary policy review. "We have to wait till monetary review by RBI," he said.
The RBI is expected to increase short-time lending and borrowing rates by 25 basis points each at the forthcoming quarterly monetary policy review. The economy is giving conflicting signals, with inflation still at high levels, whereas core sector growth has slowed down considerably. The Finance Minister said that prices of certain items generally go up in the rainy season, but admitted that this time around, the upward spiral had persisted for a longer duration than usual. "No doubt, inflation is a concern."