New Delhi [India], April 10 (ANI): The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, mandated to check the prices of essential commodities, today stated that a minor surge in prices of 22 essential commodities, including vegetables, pulses, oils and grains, during the lockdown is not worrisome and will be contained in coordination with various ministries. Speaking to ANI, Pawan Kumar Agarwal Secretary Consumer Affairs Ministry said that disturbances in the supply chain caused by lockdown have led to a minor surge in retail prices. “The minor surge in prices is not worrisome and will be contained with coordination among various ministries,” Agarwal said.
The ministry is also preparing to release extra stocks in the market, through NAFED, to check the surge in prices. “Agriculture ministry is working hard to ensure farmers produce is procured. We have asked NAFED to release the stock if there are acute shortages. Prices will come down as we release the stock,” added the official.
“We monitor the prices of 22 essential food items across the country. According to our reports, there have been disturbances in the supply chain in various essential commodities. This has resulted in a minor surge in prices particularly pulses, ” informed the official.
The Secretary maintains that the ministry’s priority is to maintain essential commodities supply during the lockdown. “The supply of essential commodities is equally important and we are in touch with several grocery chains as well, ” said the Secretary Consumer Affairs ministry.
He stated that the price surge in case of potatoes and tomatoes is because of a bottleneck in supply as farmers are not being able to carry their produce to mandis. “These mandis are also not getting enough buyers even if they are managing to get the produce of farmers. So, while prices have crashed in mandis, due to low volume of sale in mandis there is not enough trade. So, despite reduced prices, transporting goods by buyers is difficult and those who are able to do so are selling products at a higher retail price,” added the secretary.
The 22 essential commodities include rice, wheat, atta, gram, arhar, udad masur, sugar, milk, groundnut oil, mustard oil, vanaspati, soya oil, sunflower and palm oil. Jaggery, tea, salt, potato onion and tomato are also included in the list.