Food prices to come down within 3 months: Consumer Affairs Secy

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New Delhi, May 22 (UNI) The pressure on the government is expected to ease as food prices come down within the next two-three months with record harvest and increased stocks.

''We have seen record production and stocks have increased...In the next two-three months, we expect to see some respite unless something drastic happens,'' Department of Consumer Affairs Secretary Y S Bhave told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.

Production of maize, wheat and rice have been bumper and stocks have also gone up, he added.

Food Corporation of India (FCI) had, as on Wednesday, procured 203 lakh tonnes of wheat, well above the target of 150 lakh tonnes.

Going by the trend, procurement may touch an all-time high of 210 lakh tonnes by the end of the season. The record till now had been 206.3 lakh tonnes in 2001-02.

Wholesale and retail prices of wheat and rice have remained stable in the main markets across the country.

While the Food Ministry has been able to build a buffer stock of 30 lakh tonnes over and above the 150 lakh tonnes required for the public distribution system (PDS).

While the government can afford to breathe a sigh of relief as of now on the food front, controlling the prices of other commodities, like cement, edible oil, petrol, pulses, steel and other metals are pushing the price index to newer highs every week.

UNI SR SG DS1532

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