Modi government blames imports for edible oil price hike

Says, keeping close watch on international prices; states told to take disclosures of stocks from millers, stockists
For representational purposes. (File Photo)
For representational purposes. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI:  With the prices of edible oils keep on increasing, the government blames it on dependency on imports and said despite price fluctuation in the international market, it is keeping a close watch on the commodity.

“A close watch is kept on day to day basis on production, imports and prices of edible oils and so that appropriate measures can be taken to keep a check on the prices of edible oil,” Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said on Thursday.

The price of edible oils has spiked by over 50% in last one year, with even basic mustard oil price going up to Rs 214 per litre, making it unaffordable for the common household. Along with the hike in fuel and LPG prices, household budget of a family has gone up, at a time when people are struggling with pay cuts and job losses.

“In a move to check the unfair practices of any and bring transparency in the availability of edible oils, the Centre has asked states to take disclosures of stock of edible oilseeds and oils with the millers and stockist. This move is being made to ensure that there is no unfair practice and consequent rise of edible oils due to hoarding of any kind,” the consumer affairs ministry said.

The government clarified that this is not a stock limitation order of any kind.

The Secretary, Food and Public Distribution, is expected to take a meeting with state officials on Friday to take the matter further and ensure that compliance is done appropriately.

Experts said that price movement has become steeper after the government in September last year passed a bill to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.

“If you will watch the price movement of these commodities, you can draw your conclusion. While this is the most business friendly of all farm laws, the danger is that what if businesses develop monopoly. We have record mustard seed production yet the benefit is hardly reaching the consumers,” said a senior researcher, who did not wish to be named.

The government blamed it on costly imports.

“Around 60% of the edible oils consumed in the country are met through imports... palm oil constitutes around 54% of the total edible oil imported mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, while Soyabean oil constitutes around 25% and is imported from Argentina and Brazil and Sunflower oil constitutes 19% and is imported mainly from Ukraine,” the ministry added.

60% Of consumption of edible oil met through imports.

54%  Share of palm oil in the total edible oil imports.

25% Soyabean oil’s share in the total edible oil shipment.

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The New Indian Express