Prices Of Perishable Items Within Tolerance Band: Sitharaman


Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said prices of perishable items have come down and are well within the tolerance band.

To a query raised by AIADMK’s M Thambi Durai on the rise in retail inflation, during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha today, she detailed the interventions made by her government to keep in check the price rise.

“The prices have started coming down and are well within the tolerance band. Lots of steps have been taken by the government, particularly for meeting the shortage in supply of perishables,” Sitharaman said.

Retail inflation in India, though, is in the RBI’s 2-6 per cent comfort level but is above the ideal 4 per cent scenario. In December, the retail inflation was 5.69 per cent.

India does not grow enough pulses to meet its annual demand, and much of it is met through imports.

“We don’t grow enough of pulses in this country. So pulse prices are (high) normally due to a shortfall in supply. in anticipation, depending upon the crop estimates, we tie up for imports,” the finance minister said.

India imports tur dal from Mozambique, Myanmar, Tanzania, Sudan, and Malawi, and to a lesser extent from Kenya, and Nigeria.

Sitharaman apprised the Upper House that importers have shipped in about 8.79 lakh tonne tur dal in 2023. For Masur, the imports were at 15.14 LMT in the last calendar year.

As part of the government’s initiative to give respite to its citizens, subsidized chana is available at Rs 60 per kg for a 1 kg pack, and at Rs 55 per kg for a 30 kg pack.

Till January 2024, about 2.97 lakh tonnes of chana have been sold at subsidized rates.

“This Bharat Dal that is coming out at a concessional price is available on ONDC, Blinkit, Jio Mart, and all other big retail outlets. Such steps are also being for tomatoes and others as well,” Sitharaman said.

Onion, another perishable, is also being offloaded in the market at a subsidized rate of Rs 25. Faced with rising onion prices, the central government has been releasing the staple vegetable from its buffer stock.

Buffer stock is maintained to meet any exigencies and for price stabilisation if rates go up significantly during the lean supply season.

Export restrictions were also imposed on the staple vegetable.

“We have curtailed their exports so that their prices can be kept within a reasonable limit,” Sitharaman said.

India has prohibited the export of onions till March 2024. The export of onions will be, however, allowed on the basis of permission granted by the central government to other countries based on the request made by the countries. (ANI)

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