The centre will set up a core group of state chief ministers to deliberate on the current price scenario in the country and recommend measures to tackle the problem, including measures to step up agricultural production.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh announced the decision at a conference of chief ministers today. The conference also called for a paradigm shift in government policy by bringing back 'agriculture' to the centre of the agenda.
The conference highlighted the role of state governments in enhancing productivity levels by using improved technology, through dovetailing state schemes with central schemes as well as by strategising for the next agricultural revolution.
The core group will recommend measures to increase agricultural production and productivity (including long term policies for sustained agricultural growth).
The group will suggest steps to reduce the gap between farmgate prices and retail prices as also measures to be taken for better implementation of the Essential Commodities Act as also any amendments, if any, needed for the Act.
The group has also been mandated to suggest an effective delivery system of essential commodities to the vulnerable sections of society.
Besides, it would suggest measures to augment warehousing and storage capacity (including cold chains) as also on issues relating to agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers etc.
The finance minister, minister for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution, members of the Cabinet Committee on Prices, chief ministers and food ministers from several states as well as senior officers from the Government of India and state governments also attended the conference.