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Centre tries to tame food price rise in Maharashtra ahead of polls

Ram Vilas Paswan has announced that the government would sell 2 lakh tonnes of tur dal.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 13, 2019, 09.38 AM IST
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We will issue licences for import of pulses within 10 days by sorting the applications received so far,” said Paswan.
Pune: The Centre has stepped up the import of pulses and discouraged onion exports as part of measures to hold down food prices before the Maharashtra assembly polls, but low commodity rates continue to bother farmers seemingly struggling to recover production costs.

Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies, has announced that the government would sell 2 lakh tonnes of tur dal from the buffer stock to help keep retail prices in check.

“The government is alert about any attempt at hoarding and speculation,” said Paswan in a Tweet on Tuesday. On the same day, New Delhi also withdrew export incentives on onions over concerns of higher prices.

We will issue licences for import of pulses within 10 days by sorting the applications received so far,” said Paswan.

Industry experts in Maharashtra told ET on the condition of anonymity that the government action seemed to be aimed at protecting consumer interests ahead of elections to the state assembly.

For farmers, however, the prices haven’t yet turned remunerative. “The cost of production of chicken did increase by 15 per cent during the first quarter of this fiscal, but prices are expected to remain range-bound until August,” said PG Pedgaonkar, General Manager, Venky's (India).

Suresh Agrawal, president, All India Dal Millers Association, said: “Prices of moong, urad, chana and masur are ruling below the minimum support price (MSP) while only the price of tur has recently touched the MSP of Rs 5,650/quintal.”

He has urged that the additional import quota of tur be allocated exclusively to processors, as was the case with the earlier arrangement.

The monetary policy statement of the Reserve Bank of India also noted that the summer pick-up in vegetable prices has been sharper than expected. It said that vegetables had moved out of 9 months of deflation while pulses, fruits and sugar remained in deflation in April.

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