NEW DELHI: Stung by criticism over soaring prices, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday decided to bring onions and potatoes under the purview of the Essential Commodities Act to limit stock holding, in a bid to empower State governments to crackdown on alleged hoarders.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), which met under Modi’s chairmanship, approved the proposal in this regard from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, to ensure the availability of these two vegetables in the retail market in adequate quantities and to curb the skyrocketing costs of the two items.
Earlier in the day, the government hiked the minimum export price (MEP) on onions to $500 a tonne from $300 a tonne to boost domestic supply of the commodity and control prices that are going northwards after predictions of a below normal monsoon hitting the kharif crops. Potato exports too are kept under a check with an MEP of $450 a tonne.
“There is no need to panic. There is adequate availability of onions and potatoes in the country. We are taking all possible measures to ensure enough supply and to control the prices,” said Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, who briefed the media on the decisions. The notification will be issued on Thursday and will be valid for one year.