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Centre steps up sale of subsidised onions at Rs 25/kg amid price rise: Report

The government has decided to increase the sale of buffer onions at a subsidized rate of Rs 25 per kg in retail markets in the wake of a 57 per cent surge in the all-India average retail price of onions to Rs 47 per kg, reported news agency PTI.

According to data maintained by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the all-India average retail price of onions rose from Rs 30 per kg in the same period the previous year. In the nation’s capital, the retail price of onions reached Rs 40/kg on the same date, compared to Rs 30/kg in the previous year.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told the news agency that buffer onions have been released into the market since mid-August, and the government is intensifying their retail distribution to curb further price increases and provide relief to consumers.

The ministry said buffer onions are being supplied in both wholesale and retail markets in states where prices have significantly escalated. Approximately 1.7 lakh tonnes of buffer onions have been released in 22 states at various locations since mid-August.

In retail markets, buffer onions are being distributed at the subsidized rate of Rs 25 per kg through two cooperative organizations: the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED). Delhi is also among the regions where buffer onions are available at this reduced rate, added the PTI report.

A senior ministry official told PTI that delayed kharif onion sowing due to adverse weather conditions has resulted in reduced coverage and delayed crop arrivals. Kharif onions should have already entered the market, but their arrival has been delayed.

As the stored rabi onions are depleting, and the kharif onions are delayed, the supply situation has tightened, leading to price hikes in both wholesale and retail markets.

The official also noted that the government has doubled the buffer onion stock for the current year, which is expected to improve domestic availability and stabilize prices in the near future.

For the fiscal year 2023-24, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, through NCCF and NAFED, maintains a buffer onion stock of 5 lakh tonnes and plans to procure an additional 2 lakh tonnes of onions in the coming days.

Published On:

Oct 27, 2023

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