“There will not be any problem in supply of essential food items, especially rice, wheat, sugar and pulses even if rainfall is less. There is no question of price rise in these items,” Paswan told reporters when asked about the impact on inflation due to deficient rain.
Terming the price rise in some vegetables like onion and tomato as “seasonal”, he said prices of onion, tomato and potato are stable and supply of these items are expected to improve from November onwards.
He said there will abundant supply of the vegetables.
Paswan ruled out any hike in import duty of edible oil.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Keshav Desiraju said measures to check prices of onion are being taken based on the inputs from the Agriculture Ministry that has estimated a drop in early kharif onion crop due to 15-20 per cent deficit in rain.
Highlighting measures taken to check measures in the first 100 days of the government, Paswan said that potato and onion were brought under the ambit of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and states were authorised to impose stock limits on them to check hoarding.
Telangana and West Bengal have already imposed stock limits, he said.
The state governments were also advised to amend the APMC Act to deregulate sale of fruits and vegetables. The Delhi government has amended the act and a farmers market is also being set up.
To check prices of wheat and rice, Paswan said that the government has released 10 million tonnes of wheat in the open market and 50 lakh tonnes of rice via PDS.
On progress made in implementation of the Food Security Act, Paswan said some states are facing problems and have sought up to one more year to put in place the system.
As of now, 11 states have implemented and no more state has come forward to implement the law after the Centre gave three-months extension on July 4 to roll out the scheme, he said.
“Barring one-two states, no states have completely implemented the law. …No state is saying that they will not implement the law but they are seeking more time,” he said.
Asked about ministry’s view on allowing FDI in multibrand retail, Desiraju said: “The consumer affairs ministry has always been interested in what is the interest of consumers. It is likely if FDI results in wider choice, better quality and more products available, it is something that we will support.”
“However, this is all government decision on which Department of Consumer Affairs does not have any single point of view,” he added.