With onion prices continuing to rise above Rs 100 per kg, the government of India has extended prohibitions on traders from the stocking of edible bulb across the country for an indefinite period to check price rise.
Separately, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan did not say by when prices of onion will normalise. “It’s not in our hand, the government is making maximum efforts but who can win from nature,” he told reporters when asked by when onion prices will come down to reasonable level.
Besides stock holding limit, he said, the Centre has banned exports of onion and importing 1.2 lakh tonnes to control prices. Onion prices are ruling at Rs 70-80 per kg in retail markets across major cities.
“Stockholding limit on retailers and wholesalers are being further extended until further orders,” an official statement said.
The stock holding limit was imposed in September. At present, retailers can stock onion only up to 100 quintals and wholesale traders are allowed to keep up to 500 quintals.
The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting, chaired by Consumer Affairs Secretary A K Srivastava, to monitor the price and availability of onions across the country.
The consumer affairs secretary has written to chief secretaries of all states asking them to suitably reduce the stock limits further in their states as per the availability and prices. They have been asked to strictly enforce these stock limits and send an action taken report on a weekly basis.
State-owned MMTC informed that the first shipment of onions from Egypt would arrive in the second week of December. The public sector trading firm has contracted imports of 6,090 tonnes of onions. It has floated a country-specific tender.
Expressing concern over the price rise, Paswan said the situation is being closely monitored by a team of five Union ministers chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah. Finance minister, agriculture minister and road transport minister are also members of the group of ministers. The group of ministers has already held one meeting and another one will be held soon, he said.