THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government’s free food kits and free supply of rice and provisions by voluntary organisations helped check price rise during lockdown, shows the price data with the Economics and Statistics Department. The department analyses the market trends by collecting retail prices of 50 essential commodities from all districts. The daily reports during the lockdown period showed no major escalation for most of the commodities, especially rice varieties and pulses.
A marginal increase was recorded in the first few weeks for certain vegetables like cucumber, beans and bitter gourd. It was attributed to the severe lockdown restrictions in Tamil Nadu. However, these prices too came down in the fifth week of the lockdown when restrictions were eased in that state. Over 20% rise in price was recorded in price of shallot and 27.66% for onion. Another commodity that showed an upward price trend was eggs. This is attributed to the price rise in the production hub of Namakkal in Tamil Nadu.
Retail egg prices are based on the rates fixed by the National Egg Coordination Committee at the production hubs of Namakkal and Vijayawada. Sources in the Civil Supplies Department said rice and pulses did not witness a price rise due to massive food kit distribution by voluntary organisations. “It also helped check sugar price. But the price may go up for vegetables in the coming weeks if fuel price continues to be up. Kerala will be badly affected by the hike in petroleum price,” said an officer.
Last year, a study by the Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation had found that food prices in Kerala during the pandemic were lower than the rest of the country. Active policy intervention helped the state maintain prices lower than other south Indian states said the study by assistant professor P S Renjith and Kiran Kumar Kakarlapudi.