Piyush Goyal, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Railways and Commerce and Industry has asked the officials to keep a strict watch on prices of essential commodities in the States/UTs. The Minister asked the officials of the Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure that adequate stock of relevant commodities is maintained to create a buffer to cushion the unusual price shocks and keep prices stable.
The Union Minister said that the Provisions of Essential Commodities Act to be enforced by States if any Miller, Wholesaler or Retailer etc tries to take undue advantage of the Covid situation and hoards the essential commodities.
Union Minister was reviewing the provisions for keeping the prices of essential commodities in check in the States/UTs.
It may be noted that the Department of Consumer Affairs collects data about prices from 157 centres of 34 states/UTs. The States/UTs are expected to monitor the prices of all 22 essential Commodities, especially pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and milk and to look for early signs of any unusual price rise so that timely interventions can be made to ensure that these food items are provided at affordable prices to consumers.
It may also be noted that Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs had also taken meeting day before yesterday with Principal secretaries of states to tell them about the need to maintain the prices of Essential Commodities at fair levels. DoCA also directed all the Stockholders like Millers, traders, importers etc. to declare the stocks of pulses and that the same may be verified by the State/ UTs Governments.
Recently, the Ministry of Commerce had changed its import policy for pulses to ease the supply of the same The Minister said that advance planning is done by all concerned to ensure that no shortage of any essential commodity emerges at any time.
The States/UTs were also requested to monitor the prices of pulses on weekly basis. An online datasheet was also shared with States/UTs to fill in the details of millers, wholesalers, importers etc. and the stocks of pulses held by them. It is to be noted that the pulse producing States/UTs were also requested to facilitate procurement as sustained procurement would incentivize farmers to cultivate pulses on a long-term basis.