Friday 27 May 2022
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Steps govt thinks will control prices

New Delhi: The Union government has taken a number of steps to improve the availability and to contain prices of essential food items, a recent press release claims. A national consultation meeting of the ministers from States and Union Territories in charge of consumer affairs and food was held on 7 July last year in New Delhi where the delegates resolved to take steps to keep prices of essential commodities, especially Pulses and under control.

An advisory was issued to State governments to take strict action against hoarding and black marketing and effectively enforcing the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and the of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980.

Regular review meetings on price and availability situation are being held at the highest level including at the level of finance minister, committee of secretaries, inter-ministerial committee, Price Stabilization Fund Management Committee and other departmental level review meetings.

Higher MSP has been announced so as to incentivize production and thereby enhance availability of food items, which may help moderate prices. MSP (including bonus) raised for kharif pulses for Tur and Urad and Moong. MSP has been raised for rabi pulses for gram and masoor, too. The MSPs for various rabi and kharif oil seeds have been increased.

This is odd, considering the fact that the minimum support price is the money government offers to the farmer when the latter is not able to sell his produce normally at the right time. How can a compensatory amount be dubbed as an incentive?

A plan titled Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) is being implemented to regulate price volatility of agricultural commodities.

The export of was restricted through the imposition of a Minimum Export Price (MEP) when prices were ruling high and import is allowed at zero duty.

Retail sale of was undertaken from the stock held by SFAC and NAFED. Procurement of 15,000 MT of onion by SFAC and NAFED for market intervention during lean period has been approved.

Two-thousand metric tonnes of were imported from and China through Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India. As no demand from States was received, the onions were disposed of through tenders in the open market.

The stock limits in respect of have been extended by one more year: up to 2 July under the Essential Commodities Act.

Export of all pulses except Kabuli channa and up to 10,000 MTs in organic pulses and lentils is banned. Import of pulses is allowed at zero import duty. The stock limit on pulses has been extended till 30 September. Export of edible oils in bulk is prohibited except coconut oil and other edible oils in branded consumer packs of up to 5 kgs is permitted with a minimum export price of USD 900 per MT.

The government imported 5,000 MT of tur dal from Malawi, Mozambique, and allocated it to States for retail sale to consumers to improve availability and to moderate prices.

The government has approved the creation of a buffer stock of 1.5 lakh MT of pulses for effective market intervention.

This information was given by Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan in a written reply in Rajya Sabha recently.

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