Govt. took steps to contain prices of essential food items
NEW DELHI: The government has taken a number of steps to improve the availability and to contain prices of essential food items which include:
- Minimum Export Price (MEP) for onion has been raised from USD 250 per M.T to USD 425 per MT w.e.f. 26.6.2015.
- The stock limits in respect of onion has extended by one more year i.e. up to 2nd July 2016 under the Essential Commodities Act.
- Export of all pulses is banned except kabuli channa and up to 10,000MTs in organic pulses and lentils. Zero import duty on pulses has been extended till 30th September, 2015.
- Export of edible oils in bulk is prohibited except coconut oil and other edible oil in branded consumer packs of up to 5kgs is permitted with a minimum export price of USD 900 per MT w.e.f. 6.2.2015.
- States have been advised to allow free movement of fruits and vegetables by delisting them from the APMC Act.
- A new Plan Scheme titled Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) with a corpus of Rs.500 crores approved aimed at regulating price volatility of agricultural and horticultural commodities. Under the scheme a decision has been taken to augment the domestic supply of pulses by importing 5000MT of Arhar.
- States have been advised to exempt levy of market fee on fruits and vegetables and to allow establishment of “Kisan Mandis”/ Farmers markets where producers and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) can directly market their produce to wholesalers, organized retailers and ordinary consumers.
- Government is also encouraging production of horticultural crops through a Centrally Sponsored scheme, namely Mission for integrated Development of Horticulture w.e.f 2014-15.
- Advisory to State Governments issued to take strict action against hoarding & black marketing and effectively enforce the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 & the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980.
- Rice and wheat is being released into the open market from the central pool stock over and above the buffer norm.
- The joint action plan following the consultation meeting held on 7th July 2015 with States/UTs inter-alia agreed to identify vulnerable areas where supply shortages occur and ensure that stock out situation do not occur for items of common consumption and also review of APMC Act with reference to onion, potatoes and tomatoes to remove inter-State barriers to internal trade.
This information was given by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.