Centre bent on bringing down prices

CELEBRATION TIME: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with RBI Governor D. Subbarao unveiling a plaque at RBI headquarters to mark the central bank’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Mumbai on Saturday.

FM releases report on credit guarantee scheme for SMEs

The Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has said that supply side constraints, particularly among food items, resulted in rising inflation.

Shortage of supply has resulted in steep increase in the prices of pulses and sugar, said Mr. Mukherjee while speaking to media persons at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Reserve Bank of India here on Saturday. According to him, prices of cereals such as wheat and rice have gone up on account of better support prices given to farmers, resulting in cost-push inflation.

The Government has been taking steps to bring down the prices of food items. The food price inflation stood at 17.86 per cent for the week ending February 20.

Mr. Mukherjee, however, said that had the Government not offered better prices to farmers, it would have forced them to look for alternative crops other than food crops. “As a result of remunerative prices offered to farmers, food stocks are full today,” asserted Mr. Mukherjee. As part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee released the report of working group to review the credit guarantee scheme for medium and small enterprises (CGSMSE).

The report has recommended among others collateral-free loans up to Rs. 10 lakh to SMEs in a bid to ease financial requirements of the sector which accounts for 40 per cent of total industrial production.

Commending the Reserve Bank’s outreach initiative “Reserve Bank Reaches Out”, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee said “Financial inclusion is an essential requirement for an equitable growth and development.”

Reserve Bank of India Governor D. Subba Rao said over the last one year, the central bank has held outreach programmes at several far off places to increase financial literacy and make people aware about policy and growth linkages.

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