Delhi, Andhra, Telangana come forward to avail central subsidy for buying onions
Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have approached the Union agriculture ministry with proposals to avail themselves of subsidy to procure onions.
The three states came forward only after the Centre sent two reminders to all state governments to use the subsidy available under the price stabilisation fund and to take action against hoarders to check spiralling prices.
“After repeated reminders some states have approached the Centre,” said an agriculture ministry official. “We had anticipated way back in February that there may be some pressure on supplies between July and September. Why were the states sleeping and not taking any step to bring down prices?”
Till date, only central agencies Nafed and Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) have taken interestfree advance of Rs 8.75 crore and Rs 7.94 crore under the fund to procure onions.
The official, who did not wish to be identified, said onion prices in Delhi had remained stable at Rs 40-45 per kg last year and raids on hoarders had made an impact, which has not been the case this year. As per the agriculture ministry, the average wholesale price on Wednesday was Rs 48.76 per kg and retail price was Rs 56.26 a kg.
The Delhi government, which has procured 2,511 tonnes of onions from the SFAC, has sought Rs 7.50 crore from the ministry. “The proposal was incomplete and not as per guidelines. They will again submit their proposal,” said an agriculture ministry official.
The Centre has, however, approved a proposal of Telangana for procurement of 5,000 tonnes of onion at a cost of Rs 18.31 crore, with the Centre’s contribution being Rs 9.15 crore.
Other proposals from the states are in the pipeline, officials said. For instance, a proposal of Andhra Pradesh for subsidy of Rs 56 crore to procure potatoes and onions, is expected to be cleared, subject to some changes in the proposal.