More steps will be taken to rein in inflation: FM

Chennai, Apr 26 | Updated: Apr 28 2008, 05:16am hrs
Under pressure from the Opposition as well as its key allies, the government on Saturday hinted at more steps to bring down prices of essential commodities and rein in inflation.

The Union government will do the needful to check spiralling prices of essential commodities, finance minister P Chidambaram told reporters after his convocation address at the Womens Christian College here.

The inflation has been hovering at 7% for the last few weeks and a part of it has been due to rise in the prices of food items. For the week ended April 12, the rate stood at 7.33% from 7.14% in the previous week. However, government measures like banning exports of non-basmati rice and making imports of edible oil cheaper, have led to softening of prices of these items.

Chidambaram also said the reservation in education for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, backward classes and women should be viewed as an affirmative action to democratise the education system.

Observing that Indias education system has been under performing at various levels, he said about 7.6 million children who ought to be in school were out of it.

To effectively strengthen the education system, the outlay for the current year under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had been increased to Rs 13,100 crore, he said, adding that in 2008-09, two lakh teachers were expected to be appointed and another two lakh classrooms would be built.

The government, he said, would also take steps to raise the gross enrollment ratio, the proportion of school-leaving children admitted to a college , from 11.6% to 15% by end of the 11th Five-Year Plan.