PM assures worst over on food price front

Prime minister Manmohan Singh today sought to assure a nation worried about the spriralling food prices, saying that the worst was over as far as food inflation was concerned and the prices would soon stabilise.

Expressing his dissatisfaction over the food distribution system, the prime minister at a press conference in New Delhi said that the system was hopelessly outdated and needed to be completely overhauled.

The press conference followed a meeting between the PM and state chief ministers on ways to contain soaring prices of essential commodities and provide relief to the common man.

Calling for a temporary ban on the export of essential commodities to fight rising prices, he urged state government to take all possible steps to ensure the poor were not burdened further.

"We must ban export of these items," he said, while outlining the steps taken by his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the past several months, including allocation of grain for distribution through fair price shops.

He also appealed to states to conduct a review of food deficiency and work closely with the central government to overcome the crisis.