Measures taken by government to contain price rise and improve the availability of essential food items

The Government has initiated several measures in the recent past to contain price rise and improve the availability of essential food items. The recent steps taken in this regard are:

  •  Minimum Export Price has been fixed for potatoes and for onions. This has been done to keep domestic prices under check in view of increased wholesale prices.  Under a MEP, no export is allowed below the set minimum price.
  • States have been advised to allow free movement of fruits and vegetables by delisting them from the APMC Act.
  •  Price Stabilization Fund (PSF), a Central Sector Scheme with a corpus of Rs.500 crores to advance interest free loans to States and Central/State agencies to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement, storage and distribution operations for perishable agri-horticultural commodities has been approved.
  •  Government approved the release of additional five million tonnes of rice to BPL & APL families in states pending implementation of National Food Security Act .
  •  Advisory to State Governments issued to take action against hoarding & black marketing . Effectively enforce the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 & the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980. A decision has been taken to amend the Essential Commodities Act to make hoarding and black marketing a non bailable offence and increase the period of detention to one year from existing six months.
  •  Authorized States/UTs to impose stock limits under the Essential Commodities Act.
  •  Open Market sale of wheat under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to private players. Shanta kumar panel on FCI reforms had suggested allowing the FCI flexibility in operating the open market sale because, at present, the Union Cabinet decides on the quantum of grain to be made available under OMSS — which is often timing consuming.