Price rise: Centre asks States to take up market intervention effectively

New Delhi, Feb 7 (ANI): The Centre has asked the State Governments to take up market intervention effectively and timely to check the prices of essential commodities.

Addressing the meeting of Food Ministers of Northern States here today, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, K.V. Thomas, said that the Centre is proposing a scheme for market intervention with committed funds but state Governments on their part should use the provisions of 'Essential Commodities Act' and the prevention of blackmarketing and 'Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act' to check malpractices either in PDS or in the open market.

He said States should ensure adequate availability of stocks in the open market by reviewing the stocks limits of the commodities time to time. Urging the States to make efforts to lift more foodgrains allotted to them under PDS, Thomas said: "The Centre has allocated 632.46 lakh tonnes of foodgrains, 13 % more this year. This includes additional allocation 50 lakh tonnes for BPL families. He said that the State should lift the additional allocation in full and ensure that it reaches to targeted beneficiaries."

Briefing the States about efforts being made to increase storage capacity for food grains, he said that department of food has formulated a scheme for construction of additional storage through private entrepreneur as well as by the state undertakings. Significant progress has been made in this direction.

"The States should provide all possible assistance to the nodal agencies nominating in their area for construction these new capacities," he added.

Regarding sugar production, Thomas expressed the hope that prices would remain at reasonable level as the sugar production in the current season is expected to increase significantly.

" Government is also implementing a Scheme for distribution of subsidised imported oil. Under the Scheme Centre provides subsidy of Rs. 15 per kg on the edible oil but only four States have sought allocation under the scheme," said Thomas, and urged other States to avail this scheme to provide edible oil at reasonable price to all consumers.

Participating the discussion Ministers and Senior Officials from Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh and Delhi agreed to strengthen the price monitoring mechanism and monitoring of offtake under PDS so that foodgrains can be reached to the targeted beneficiaries in time.

They also agreed to review procurement arrangement for coming crop season so that all steps could be taken in advance to facilitate farmers for bringing their crop in market and purchase by the nominated agencies in time.

The one-day meeting was the part of the zonal meetings started by the Food and Public Distribution Ministry to review all the issues related with Food and Consumer Affairs. (ANI)

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