The government though announced measures to curb price rise, it still hasn’t learned from the past
GN Bureau | June 17, 2016
That time of the year has come again when basic commodities try to shrug off their ‘basic’ tag. Providing sudden unrest to the public’s budget, this trend is invariably seen every year, and so has it now as prices of pulses reach triple figures.
Pinching people’s pockets, the prices of pulses have jumped to as much as Rs 200 per kg. In this category, urad dal is selling at Rs 190-200 per kg while the price of chana dal is touching Rs 100 per kg, and so is masur dal. Moong dal is selling at Rs 125 per kg while tur dal costs Rs 150-160 per kg.
Meanwhile, tomatoes have already been selling anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 100 per kg for the past few days.
The finance minister Arun Jaitley has held a meeting with ministries of food and agriculture and decided to enhance the buffer stock of pulses from 1.5 lakh tonne to 8 lakh tonne. A number of other meetings among consumer affairs ministry, income tax department, enforcement directorate and intelligence bureau and various state governments, have also been held to address the issue.
Everyone has been assigned specific roles: the enforcement agencies to check hoarding, state governments to sell pulses at subsidised rates from the buffer stock and put a cap on prices, Sebi to suspend trading in chana.
In preventive measures, the Centre has decided to impose 20 percent export duty on sugar and 25 percent on wheat. The government has also approved import of pulses and lentils. Teams would also be visiting Mayanmar and Mozambique for long-term pulses contract.
While hoarding and middlemen usually remain the main causes of price rise, drought too has affected supplies this year.
But a lot could have been averted had the government taken these measures much earlier. Similar was the case with drought management; it was only when the situation went out of hands that the governments started scuttering around. For now, the government would need to act swiftly to bring prices under control.
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