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Rahul outlines strategy to contain price rise in Congress-ruled states

Talking to reporters after the day-long interaction with chief ministers and top ministers for which Gandhi had set the agenda for the discussion by his opening remarks on corruption and inflation as core issues, AICC communciation department chief Ajay Maken listed four measures that Congress chief ministers agreed to implement.

‘All Congress-ruled states will by 15 January delist the fruits and vegetables from their respective Agricultural Produce Markets Committee (APMC) Acts so that the farmers have a choice of where to sell their produce and consumers will get the benefit of lower prices,’ Maken said, as Gandhi sought to work out a strategy to woo voters.

These amendments to include or exclude items from the list needs an executive order and the governments will not have to go the state legislators, the party sources said.

All Congress-ruled states have also been directed to invoke Essential Commodities Act 1955 to deal sternly with hoarding, blackmarketing and profiteering. ‘Chronic offenders may also be detained under the Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980, ‘ he added.

A decision was also taken that all these states will immediately take steps to open fair price shops, either government-owned or run women’s self-help groups that will sell fruits, vegetables and eggs are fair and reasonable prices.

‘All Congress-ruled states will immediately implement the reforms of the Public Distribution System (PDS) that are stipulated in the National Food Security Act, 2013 so as to eliminate leakages and to ensure that foodgrains reach the intended beneficiaries,’ he said.

Immediately after the results of the Assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were out, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had listed price rise as an issue that could have led to the rout of the party in these states.

Addressing a FICCI conference, Rahul Gandhi had also flagged concerns over price rise and noted that tackling inflation was the top priority.

The first major poll exercise after the party’s drubbing in recent assembly elections saw the party leaders from the states seeking urgent steps to check price rise saying people are angry over it.
At the meeting, all chief ministers expressed their unhappiness over implementation of Aadhar-linked subsidy on LPG cylinders, saying large number of consumbers will not be able to avail of it.
They felt that the complicated process of subsidising the cylinders is not giving any benefit to the government while at the same tiem it is also being antagonised.
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