Government will purchase 15,000 tonnes of onions in a move to help the growers in the wake of a bumper crop that has sharply brought down prices, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
To salvage the situation, the government launched Rs 50,000 crore worth irrigation and soil health schemes and is all set to unveil a new insurance scheme and electronic agri-market in New Year to ensure that the farmers earn 50 percent profit from produce.
RBI has however cautioned that while oil prices, barring geopolitical shocks, are expected to remain benign for a few more quarters, the uptick of CPI inflation excluding food and fuel for two months in succession warrants vigilance.
"All varieties of onions... can be exported without any MEP," Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
In August, the government had hiked onion MEP to USD 700 per tonne, from USD 425, as prices at both wholesale and retail levels skyrocketed on lower output due to unseasonal rains.
The government, under pressure to check retail onion prices that have shot up to Rs 80 per kg across the country, on Friday approved bids for import of 1,000 tonnes of onion at Rs 45 per kg and has decided to buy more from overseas markets to boost domestic supply.
A senior official said that the change in onion rates comes after the government's intervention which will further bring down the price of the kitchen staple in the city.
Exports will now be possible at USD 350 per tonne, Telecom and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
Saumitra Chaudhuri, Member, Planning Commission says India should continue with curbs on gold imports for some more time.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Food Minister K V Thomas said 8,041 tonnes of onion were imported during September 1 and November 13 from China, Egypt, Pakistan and Thailand.
The Sensex fell 266.73 points or 1.29 percent to close last week at 20,399.42 and the Nifty lost 84.60 points or 1.38 percent to 6,056.15, weighed down by weakness in every sector except auto.
Mother Dairy, which has about 400 retail outlets in the national capital region, is selling tomatoes at Rs 62 per kg and onions at Rs 58-60 per kg. Local vendors are charging Rs 70-80 per kg for tomatoes
Retail prices were today ruling at the maximum of Rs 90/kg in J&K, followed by Rs 80/kg in Delhi, Hisar and Varanasi and Rs 70-75/kg in Lucknow and Amritsar. In other parts of the country, retail prices continue to rule above Rs 45/kg but highest rate of Rs 70-80/kg prevailed in some cities like Thiruvanthapuram, Shillong and Guwahati.
The price of onions, the foundation of much Indian cooking, has more than trebled in a year, partly owing to erratic monsoon rains.
A sharp rise in the cost of onions - a vegetable of volatile price that is credited with toppling two Indian governments since 1980 - has sent jitters through the Congress-led coalition government of Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister.
Food inflation dropped to a four-month low of 8% as on November 19, reflecting fall in prices of essential items like onions, potatoes and wheat giving relief to common-man, while rates for rice and vegetables increased at a moderate pace.
Food inflation witnessed a sharp moderation to 8% for the week ended November 19, though prices of most agricultural items, barring potatoes, onions and wheat, continued to rise on an annual basis.
Food inflation rose to 12.21% during the week ended October 22, with expensive vegetables, pulses, fruits and milk, putting more burden on the common man. Food inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), stood at 11.43% in the previous week.
India will be self-sufficient in production of staple foods until 2025 and there are signs it could act as soon this month to improve distribution -- key to ensuring its half a billion poor have enough to eat, a food expert says.
Rising prices are threatening to put onions in the realm of the exotic; but the myths about them, and their medicinal benefits, have given them a place in the sun.
The government may ban wheat product exports in a series of measures to tame spiralling food prices that have fuelled rapid inflation and increased pressure on an embattled ruling Congress party, local media said.
Food inflation is fuelling tensions within India's ruling coalition, highlighting how high prices of basic foodstuffs have become a major voter issue ahead of state elections.
India is trying to persuade Pakistan to resume full exports of onions, foreign minister S M Krishna said on Friday, as food inflation weighs on Asia's third-largest economy and fuels anger against the ruling coalition.
Even as soaring onion prices are bringing tears to the common man, government apathy is not helping matters.