4.00pm: Chidambaram says that food inflation is high because of higher procurement prices that has benefitted millions of farmers. "We cannot look at everything from a middle class point of view" he said.
Chidambaram asks why the Indian middle class is willing to pay Rs 15 for a bottle of water or Rs 20 for an ice cream but be unwilling to pay Rs 1 extra for a kilo of wheat or rice.
3.45pm: Chidambaram is now talking about the UPA achievements in the power and education sectors. He says that in the power sector, India has been able to generate 22,502 mega watts of additional power capacity, electrify 8000 new villages and has become the second fastest growing telecom market in the world.
In terms of education, the Home Minister says that the government has been responsible for building 500 classrooms, appointing 6.8 lakh new teachers and implanting the largest ever mid day meal system that feeds 11 crore children everyday.
Chidambaram also points to compulsory free education, the launch of the Aakash tablet and the National Institute of technology bill as other significant achievements of the government in this field.
3.36pm: Home Minister P Chidambaram begins by briefing the media on the economic situation in the country. He begins by reminding those gathered there that the first couple of years of the UPA regime showed record high growth for the country, but admits that the last year has been difficult for the government. He says that India was hit by the eurozone crisis just as they came out of the 2008 financial crisis.
Saying that the eurozone crisis was even worse than the 2008 crisis, Chidambaram said however that India was still one of the fastest growing countries in the world, apart from China and some other countries. He said that he was confident that the country would return to a high growth path very soon. "We will get out of this trough", he said.
3.30pm: Home Minister P Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid are briefing the media as part of a countrywide tour undertaken by representatives of the GoM across the country. A spokesman for the GoM says that the ministers are briefing the media as part of its regular tradition of interacting with the media.
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