As all-India average retail onion price shoots up by 57 per cent to Rs 47 per kg, the Centre on Friday decided to step up the sale of buffer onion at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 per kg in retail markets in order to provide relief to consumers.
The all-India average retail price of onion rose to Rs 47 per kg on Friday, from Rs 30 per kg in the year-ago period, as per the data maintained by the consumer affairs ministry.
In the national capital, retail price of onion was at Rs 40/kg on Friday as against Rs 30/kg in the year-ago period, the data showed.
"We have been offloading buffer onions since mid-August and we are stepping up the retail sale in order to check further rise in prices and provide relief to the consumers," Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told PTI.
According to the ministry, onion is being offloaded from the buffer stock in both wholesale and retail markets in states where there is a sharp rise in prices. Since mid-August, about 1.7 lakh tonne of buffer onion has been offloaded in 22 states at different locations.
In retail markets, buffer onion is being offloaded through two cooperative bodies NCCF and NAFED outlets and vehicles at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 per kg. In Delhi too, buffer onion is being sold at this subsidised rate.
A senior ministry official said the delay in kharif onion sowing due to weather reasons has resulted in less coverage and late arrival of the crop.
The fresh kharif onion should have started arriving by now but it has not. With stored rabi onion getting exhausted and delay in arrival of kharif onion, there is a tight supply situation, resulting in price increase in both wholesale and retail markets, the official added.
He also mentioned that the government has doubled the buffer onion stock for the current year and this should improve domestic availability and check prices in the coming days.
For 2023-24 fiscal year, the consumer affairs ministry through NCCF and NAFED has maintained a buffer onion stock of 5 lakh tonne and plans to procure additional 2 lakh tonne onion in the coming days.