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NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: India is in talks with Russia to import wheat at a discount to surging global prices in a rare move to boost supplies and curb food inflation ahead of state and national elections next year, according to four sources.
The imports would allow New Delhi to intervene more effectively in the market to drive down wheat prices that stoked inflation to a 15-month high in July.
On the other hand, Business Standard newspaper, citing Finance Secretary T V Somanathan, reported that India will take a medium-term view to intensify efforts to ease inflation pressures and avoid any knee-jerk reaction to transitory price increases.
The government has taken a few measures to control inflation. The measures are ongoing and will be intensified, Somanathan told Business Standard, adding that the decisions have to be taken with a medium-term view and not based on the data for one-two weeks or months.
India has not imported wheat through diplomatic deals in years. The last time India imported a significant amount of wheat was in 2017, when private traders shipped in 5.3 million metric tons.
The government’s plan to import Russian wheat is one of the supply-side measures being considered to bring down prices of key commodities like fuel, cereals and pulse along with an extension of rural schemes to ease the impact of inflation on the poor, two of the sources with knowledge of the matter said.