States asked to check hoarding, retail prices at consumer end

New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS): The Centre on Friday said that its timely interventions kept the prices for onions, cereals/pulses and oils and oilseeds in check but asked the states to keep a tab on hoarding of essential commodities and retail prices at consumer end.

The Department of Food and Public Distribution, under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said it is regularly monitoring the prices of essential commodities such as onions, oils and oilseeds, and pulses and cereals in view of the increased demand because of the festive season.

"Internationally, commodities' prices have been very high, including because of Covid and a variety of other reasons. Despite that, in India, the interventions of the Central government, along with the state governments' proactive involvement, has made it possible that the cooling down effect is much more in India than in several other countries," Food and Public Distribution Secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey told media persons.

On monitoring the demand and supply mechanism vis-a-vis oil and oil seeds, he said: "We have been regularly taking steps from time to time. We have created an online portal for the retailers, distributors, wholesalers for disclosure of stock on a weekly basis. We have asked the states to monitor it as per their requirement and impose stock limits."

"The Ministry has also written a letter to this effect to the states on Friday stating that it is the responsibility of the states to enforce relevant provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and take action on the ground," Pandey said.

An inter-ministerial committee is monitoring the situation regularly every week, he said, claiming that without these interventions, the prices have been much higher.

The government claimed that its robust buffer stock of onions - at 2 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) - helped bring down onion prices and that it has already released 8,000 MT of onions for the states that have asked it.

A presentation during the media interaction also claimed that the import policy change of shifting tur, urad and moong to 'Free' category for import has resulted in decline in retail prices.

"Prices of these pulses as on October 21 declined by 2-5 per cent over that of May 17," the Centre said.

On the initiatives for easing edible oil prices, it said that there were four major steps: rationalisation of import duty, suspension of futures trading in mustard, imposition of stock limits on edible oils and edible oilseeds, and a web portal launch for self-disclosure of edible oils and edible oilseeds stocks.



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