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Inflation triggered by global factors & higher MSP: PM

‘It is true prices rose but it is because of international prices. We also gave reward to farmers in terms of remuneration, this also had consequences,’ he said during a press conference after the release of Congress manifesto for the upcoming general elections.

The government has ensured that the price rise did not affect the poor people as supplies were maintained through a Public Distribution System (PDS) system, he added. In order to encourage agriculture sector output, the UPA government had several times increase minimum support price (MSP) for key farm commodities, like wheat, paddy and sugarcane.

Although the WPI inflation which has crossed double digits fell to a nine month low of 4.68 per cent, the retail inflation still remained elevated at 8.1 per cent in February. The Congress manifesto said that if voted to power, the government would continue to take firm action to control inflation, difficult economic scenario notwithstanding.

It added, ‘In a developing economy, we must accept that when our aim is high growth, there will be moderate level of inflation. The Reserve Bank must strike a balance between price stability and growth while formulating monetary policy.’ Listing the achievements of his Government, the Prime Minister said, ‘The UPA tenure was superior. People ask what is our record. I say the Congress record is visible to those who want to see. We provided the agenda for growth.’

Singh further said that the UPA performed better than the previous NDA and specifically cited the growth in the agriculture sector, industrial sector and poverty reduction as examples. While the previous NDA regime posted a growth rate of 6 per cent, the growth in UPA I was 8.4 per cent and in UPA II 7.3 per cent. ‘So we delivered more growth than our opponents.’

Similarly, he added, industrial and agricultural growth too was higher during the UPA regime. He said that poverty has declined by 2.18 per cent during the last years against 0.7 per cent between 1993-2004. India needs more investment and more emphasis on job creation, he said. The Congress manifesto proposes to raise the economic growth to 8 per cent in the next three years and create 10 crore jobs.

Insisting that the country had witnessed the fastest economic growth during the last 10 years, he hit out at BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's model of development in Gujarat.
‘Development has many models. One hears these days about the Gujarat model of development. Congress model is one which recognises that the growing economy provides answers to all concerns,’ he said.

‘Growth by itself is not enough to achieve solid results of inclusive progress. It needs to be backed by education, healthcare and needs of women, SCs, STs and OBCs,’ Singh observed.

January mineral output rises 5% to Rs 19,369 cr

New Delhi:
The value of country's mineral production rose by five per cent in January to Rs 19,369 crore on better production compared to Rs 18,436 crore in the corresponding month a year-ago. While production of minerals like iron ore, petroleum crude and bauxite showed an increase during the period under review, crucial minerals like coal and natural gas showed a decline in January as against same month in 2013.

‘The total value of mineral production (excluding atomic & minor minerals) in the country during January 2014 was Rs 19,369 crore,’ an official statement said. The contribution of coal was recorded at Rs 6,908 crore, Petroleum (crude) at Rs 5,954 crore, iron ore Rs 2,613 crore, natural gas (utilised) Rs 1,907 crore, limestone Rs 406 crore and lignite Rs 544 crore. The production level of coal in Janaury was 561 lakh tonnes, lignite 45 lakh tonnes, natural gas (utilised) 2980 million cu m and petroleum (crude) 33 lakh tonnes. The country saw 131 kg gold production and 2,442 carat diamond output during the month.

Chromite output grew by 46.7 per cent, bauxite by 22.5 per cent, manganese ore by 11 per cent, iron ore by 6.1 per cent and petroleum (crude) by 3 per cent in January 2014 over January 2013. The coal production dipped by 0.7 per cent during the month and natural gas (utilised) saw a decrease of 6 per cent.
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