Keep strict watch on prices of essential commodities in states: Piyush Goyal

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday directed his officials to keep a “strict watch” on prices of essential commodities in states. Goyal, who reviewed the provisions of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act for keeping the prices of essential commodities in check, asked state governments to enforce this law to curb hoarding.

“The Union Minister said the provisions of the EC 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,” an official statement said.

The minister asked the officials of Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure that adequate stock of relevant commodities are maintained to create a buffer to cushion the unusual price shocks and keep prices stable.

Already, the department is monitoring prices of all 22 essential commodities by collecting data from 157 centres of 34 states and union territories and to look for any early signs of unusual price rise. In a recent meeting, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan had directed state officials to take steps to maintain prices of essential commodities at fair levels.

To check hoarding, stockholders of pulses like millers, traders, importers, etc were directed to declare their stocks. To boost supply of pulses and curb further price rise, the commerce ministry had recently changed the import policy to ease supply.

“The minister said advance planning be done by all concerned (authorities and stakeholders) to ensure that no shortage of any essential commodity emerges at any time,” the statement added. State governments have been asked to monitor the prices of pulses on a weekly basis. Pulse producing states were also requested to facilitate sustained procurement to incentivize farmers to cultivate pulses on a long-term basis.

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