Govt puts stock limits on onion & potato to check prices

The government is hoping good rains will wash away concerns of drought-like situations in certain parts of the country due to predictions of deficient monsoon.

"Let's not panic. Rain Gods will be smiling on India.

Today it rained heavily in Delhi and Mumbai. The government hopes the rain will be ok in the coming weeks," Prasad said.

At present, pulses, edible oils and oilseeds are under stock limits till September, 2014. Storage curbs on rice and paddy will remain till November this year.

The Essential Commodities Act is aimed at ensuring easy availability of essential food items and to protect consumers from exploitation by unscrupulous traders. The law provides for regulation and control of production, distribution and pricing of commodities under the law.

Prasad said six states, including Delhi, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, had sought permission to impose stock holding limits.

Earlier on Wednesday, the government hiked the minimum export price (MEP) on onions to USD 500 a tonne from USD 300 a tonne to boost domestic supply of the commodity and control prices that have risen in the last one month in anticipation of below normal monsoon affecting Kharif crops.

Exports of potatoes are also curbed by imposing an MEP of USD 450 a tonne.

In the national capital, retail prices of onion are in the range of Rs 25-30 per kg, up from Rs 15-20 a kg in May.

The wholesale price at Lasalgaon in Nashik is Rs 18.50 per kg, up by about 80 per cent from June 1 levels.

Retail price of potato is Rs 27 per kg and wholesale price is Rs 16.75 per kg.

Onion production is estimated to have risen to 192 lakh tonnes during 2013-14 crop year (July-June) from 168 lakh tonnes in 2012-13.

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