No Unanimity in Govt on Inflation Control: Chidambaram

Saubhadra Chatterji/Rediff

New Delhi, Aug 7: Finance Minister P Chidambaram today revealed that while he favoured tough administrative measures to control price rise, there was no unanimity on this issue in cabinet.

At a closed-door workshop of the Congress, Chidambaram said that he had wanted imposition of the Essential Commodities Act to check food prices but a section of the Cabinet advised against it on the grounds that it could lead to black marketing. He said he had also suggested exemplary action against hoarders including "putting a few of them behind bars to send a signal" but a section of the Cabinet was opposed to the move.

Although the workshop had been organised by the party president Sonia Gandhi specifically on the issue of the Indo-US nuclear agreement, Chidambaram was asked to speak on inflation a sticky issue for the party.

Chidambaram said there was a proposal to administer prices of steel but some sections of the government had opposed this as a measure that recalled the old days of government control.

The Union finance minister, however, concluded by saying that "I still favour taking strict (administrative) action in areas of steel, cement and foodgrain."

While defending the government's economic moves and highlighting the growth rate, he strongly criticised state governments for reluctance to take action against hoarders. "State governments are loath to invoke the Essential Commodities Act. They play ball with traders," he said.


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Title: No Unanimity in Govt on Inflation Control: Chidambaram

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