Centre offers onions at Rs 22 per kg after wholesale inflation rose to 2.59% in Dec
New Delhi, Jan 14: Amid concerns over a surge in retail inflation, the Centre on Tuesday said the onions will now be sold for Rs 22 per kg as it has imported around 18 tonnes of the kitchen staple.
"Around 18,000-ton onion has been imported now, but even after all the efforts, only 2000 tonnes onion has been sold. We are providing onions at Rs 22/kg now," Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said.
However, prices have still not fallen to normal levels. "So far, we have contracted 36,000 tonnes of onion.
Of which, 18,500 tonnes of shipment has reached India, and states have been able to take only 2,000 tonne after much persuasion. We are worried about its disposal because it is a perishable commodity," Paswan told reporters.
The announcement came as the wholesale prices-based inflation surged to an eight-month high of 2.59 per cent in December, as against 0.58 per cent in November due to sharp rise in prices of food articles like onion and potato.
Retail onion prices, which were ruling over Rs 100 per kg in most cities since the past two months, have started softening now on arrival of imported onions and new Kharif crop.
Stating that a shipment of 5,500 tonnes was cancelled before it set on sale in the absence of demand, Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash Srivastava said 4,000 tonnes of imported onions is expected to arrive in the next two days and 14,500 tonnes by the month-end.
The government is importing onions through state-run trading agency MMTC. Imports are being undertaken from Turkey, Afghanistan and Egypt.
Onion prices shot up due to 25 per cent fall in the Kharif production. Paswan also said the ministry is keeping a close watch on prices of other commodities, especially edible oils and pulses. The government will take action at the appropriate time.