PM forms three working groups to tackle price rise


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday formed three working groups, including one headed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, to recommend measures on tackling shooting food prices.

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The working groups were formed at the prime minister’s core group meeting on inflation that was attended by eight state chief ministers and his senior colleagues.

Narendra Modi will chair the group on consumer affairs while the group on food and public distribution will be headed by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Other members of Modi’s group are Tarun Gogoi and Raman Singh — chief ministers of Assam and Chhattisgarh respectively.

The group on agriculture production will be headed by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda with his counterparts from Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Bihar, Nitish Kumar as members.

The working groups have been asked to present their recommendations to the core group in two months.

The meeting at the Prime Minister’s 7, Race Course Road residence was convened specially to discuss the rising inflation that is feared to cross the double-digit mark.

At the meeting, Manmohan Singh emphasised that the primary concern of the government was to “insulate the poor and vulnerable from the rapid rise in prices of food and essential commodities.

“Our food production needs to grow at a higher rate not just to keep pace with our population growth but also to satisfy the food and nutritional needs of the country to pull its people out of hunger and malnutrition,” the prime minister said.