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Govt taking stock of inflation: Cabinet secretary

“There is nothing to be alarmed about the current inflation... The government is taking stock of the situation and will take appropriate steps if need be,” new cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth told reporters

New Delhi: Concerned over high rate of price rise, the government on Wednesday said it is monitoring inflation, which has crossed the 9% mark.

“There is nothing to be alarmed about the current inflation... The government is taking stock of the situation and will take appropriate steps if need be,” new cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth told PTI after meeting agriculture minister Sharad Pawar here.

The finance ministry and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have also expressed their worries over high inflation.

The inflation, as per the data on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), went up to 9.06% in May from 8.66% in April following an increase in prices of essential items like fruits, milk, petrol and manufactured goods.

RBI has hiked key policy rates nine times since March 2010 in its bid to tame inflation.

According to a latest report of RBI, “Inflation is likely to continue facing upward pressure.”

Experts have predicted that the central bank would raise key policy rates by at least 25 basis points in its mid-quarterly policy review on Thursday to curb price rise.

When asked about a possibility of rate hike by the central bank, Mr Seth said, “I cannot pre-judge what RBI is going to do at this point of time.”

Inflation continues to remain high despite RBI’s move to raise lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates.

Regarding his meeting with Mr Pawar, Mr Seth said it was a courtesy call.

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Strike at Maruti’s Manesar plant enters 12th day

The Haryana labour department officials held several rounds of separate meetings with the company management and the striking workers on Tuesday. However, a scheduled joint discussion comprising all parties during the late evening did not take place

New Delhi: The country’s largest car-maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) today said production at its Manesar plant continues to be completely affected as the ongoing workers’ strike entered its 12th day.

“The situation is the same as yesterday. There is no production going on,” a company spokesperson told PTI.

The company saw production hit by 10,200 units till yesterday, which translates into a loss of about Rs510 crore.

Yesterday evening, Haryana labour department officials held several rounds of separate meetings with the company management and the striking workers. However, a scheduled joint discussion comprising all parties during the late evening did not take place.

“We had a meeting with the Gurgaon deputy labour commissioner in the evening. The labour commissioner was supposed to come along with the management, but they held their meeting at a different place. The joint meeting did not happen,” the newly formed Maruti Suzuki Employees Union’s (MSEU) general secretary Shiv Kumar said.

No immediate comment could be obtained from the company on this issue.

Meanwhile, the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), which is leading the agitation from outside along with other unions such as the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said the five-member joint committee formed in support of Maruti’s striking workers will meet in the afternoon today to decide on its future course of action.

Workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt had planned a two-hour tool-down strike yesterday morning in support of Maruti’s workers at the Manesar plant. However, after beginning the tool-down strike at some factories, workers postponed the symbolic stir by a day following an appeal from Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

“Keeping in view the current situation, we have decided not to hold the tool-down strike today. We will meet at 4pm and will decide about the future actions then," AITUC secretary DL Sachdev said.

On 4th June, workers went on strike demanding the recognition of a new union, the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union, formed by those working at the Manesar plant, among other things.

While a company spokesperson said only about 600 people are on strike, MSEU’s Mr Kumar claimed at least 2,000 workers are on the sit-in stir at the plant.

Cracking the whip, the company fired 11 workers last week for allegedly inciting others to go on strike.

Currently the company has one recognised union—Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union—which is dominated by workers at the Gurgaon plant.

The Manesar plant rolls out about 1,200 units every day in two shifts. The factory produces hatchbacks Swift and A-Star and sedans DZiRE and SX4.

The company’s shares were trading 0.38% down at Rs1,218.20 apiece in mid-morning trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange today.

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