Amid hiked onion prices, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said the centre has decided to offer onions to states at the lowered prices in Mumbai ranging from Rs 49 to Rs 58 per kilogram. The Minister further stated that the imports commenced from mid-December and the states were asked to place their firm demand in order to get the supply from the imported stock.
Addressing a press conference, Paswan said that orders of onions were placed tactically in small lots and over a period of time to ensure international prices don't increase drastically.
"The Union Government had planned the imports based on the initial demand and has already contracted almost 40,000 MT of onions, which will arrive in India before the end of January. So far, 12,000 MT of onions have arrived in the country and is ready for distribution among the state government."
The Minister said that the main concern is to protect the interest of consumers and for ensuring that, the domestic supply is being augmented with imports so that prices are moderated and overall availability is increased.
For the achievement of the same, he further suggested coordinated effort between the central and state government and the consumers.
To prevent the repeat of this year's onion crisis, the Centre has decided to create a buffer stock of 1 lakh tonnes of the key kitchen staple in 2020, a senior government official said on Monday. The government had created a buffer stock of 56,000 tonnes for the current year but it was not sufficient to contain the prices which are still ruling above Rs 100 per kg in most cities across the country. As a result, the government was compelled to import through state-run MMTC.
(With Agency Inputs)