The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan today reviewed the prices& availability of Onions across the nation with Secretary Consumer Affairs Avinash K Srivastava, Secretary Food, Shri Ravi Kant along with other senior officials of the Ministry for over two hours. During the meetings several steps taken by the Government to curb price rise along with reasons for the increase in prices were discussed. It was informed that due to the delay in arrival ofmonsoon the sowing was delayed which had a cascading effect on arrival in the mandis. Also, untimely rains and the two cyclones had an impact on the overall production and also hindered the transportation of Onions especially from Maharashtra.Addressing the media after the meeting, Shri Paswan said that the Union Government is taking all possible steps to curb price rise including creating a buffer stock of 56,700 tons of Onions out of which 1525 tons are available with NAFED at present, banning export of Onions so as to retain stock for domestic consumption and putting stock holding limit of 10 MT for retailers and 50 MT for wholesalers to ensure a constant and healthy supply in the market. Enumerating the reasons for spurt in prices Shri Paswan said that all steps were taken but there is a 30-40% reduction in production on Onions and the supply has been disrupted due to rains. The arrival in Delhi Mandi is up to 25% lesser than those in the same months of previous years.
Talking about the key decisions taken to further augment supplies, Shri Paswan said that the Union Government will act as a facilitator for import of Onion. Phytosanitary and fumigation requirement have been suitably liberalised by Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate imports upto 30th November, 2019 subject to certain conditions. This will facilitate immediate import of Onions without compromising with the safety and quality. Along with that Indian missions in Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran are being requested to facilitate supply of Onions to India. Commerce Ministry has also been asked to see the feasibility of banning export of dehydrated Onions which can then be used for domestic consumption.Yesterday, in a meeting chaired by the Secretary, Consumer Affairs, NAFED was directed to supply the maximum possible quantities to Mother Dairy/Safal for retailing in Delhi. Team led by Additional MD, NAFED was asked to go to Nashikand take stock of the situation there and facilitate movement of supplies from Maharashtra to consuming regions including Delhi and adjoining regions.Two Inter Ministerial teams are also being dispatched to Karnataka and Rajasthan to take stock of their Onion supplies and encouragethe supplies to consuming regions including Delhi-NCR.