Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said Friday that was he was confident of onion prices, which had crossed Rs 100 per kg in various states, remaining under control. He said 7,000 tonne of imported onions had already arrived in the country, and dismissed the possibility of any shortages during the festival season.
“By Diwali, 25,000 tonne of imported onions will arrive. The new crop is also arriving in the markets. We are confident that onion prices will remain under control, there will be no shortage and consumers will get onions at reasonable prices," Goyal said.
The Minister said that over the past one week, onion prices had remained under control. “In the past three days, the average all-India retail price is approximately Rs 65 per kg," he said, adding that the rate had stabilised.
Goyal said the Centre had taken several steps to curb the exorbitant prices. “On September 14, the central government proactively and well in time, banned the export of onions, facilitated the import of onions by relaxing quarantine and fumigation norms," he said.
He said a stock limit, which is 25 MT for whole-seller and 2 MT for retailers, had been imposed since October 23. He added that three days were given to farmers in mandis for grading and packing, during which period the stock limit that had been imposed, would not apply.
The Minister listed other measures taken, such as an attempt to distribute onions through the Kisan Rail; the release of 36,000 MT of onions from the central buffer stock through open market sales and states; and banning the export on onion seeds to ensure that there was no shortage.
The imports have been carried out by private players.
The Minister said the price of potatoes had stabilised at Rs 42 per kg. For a quota of 10 lakh MT, the government has relaxed the import duty from 30% to 10% till January 21. As in the case on onions, here too the government is relying heavily on imports to ensure supply and stabilise prices.
“30,000 MT of potatoes will be imported from Bhutan. They will arrive within a few days. Approximately 10 lakh MT of potatoes will be imported and keep the prices of potatoes under control. There will be no shortage faced by consumers this festive season," he said.
In case of pulses, the minister said prices of most pulses are stable now and in fact much lower than what they prevailed four years back.
However, to ensure smooth domestic supply, the government has extended the time-limit for import of 4 lakh tonnes of tur dal till December, Goyal said.
Licences have been issued for import of 1.5 lakh tonnes of urad, and import duty of 10 per cent on masoor will continue till December-end, he said.
The government has also decided to extend memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mozambique for import of 2 lakh tonnes of tur for another five years and also to enter into a five-year MoU with Myanmar for import of 2.5 lakh tonnes of urad, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)