Govt has no magic lamp to control inflation: FM

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said steps have been taken to tame inflation but the government has no magic lamp to bring it down immediately.

"You cannot expect that there is any magic wand or like Alladin`s magic lamp that you rub it and your problem is solved," Mukherjee told reporters here.

He said the Reserve Bank has taken steps, including tightening of the monetary policy, to control inflation.

Driven by high prices of fruits, milk, meat, eggs, food inflation crossed 17 per cent for the week ended January 22. Headline inflation shot up to 8.43 per cent in December from 7.48 per cent a month ago.

While the Indian economy is projected to grow by 8.8-9.0 per cent this fiscal, inflationary concerns are looming over the growth prospects.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too said today that inflation posed a serious threat to the growth momentum affecting the poor and vulnerable sections and favoured waiving mandi, octroi and local taxes, which impede the smooth movement of essential commodities.

In its third quarterly monetary policy review on January 25, the RBI had increased both short term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates by 25 basis points to mop up excess liquidity from the system.

Besides, the government also took steps like banning exports of onion and abolished duty on its imports. On an annual basis, onion prices rose by over 130 per cent in the third week of January, although recently they have moderated.