New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked states to crack down on hoarders, and introduced several measures to bring inflation down.

Presiding over a high-level meeting that included ministers and secretaries, Jaitley asked the states to delist fruits and vegetables from the Agricultural Produce Market Committee list and allow farmers to sell their produce directly in the open market.

Jaitley told media last evening that 22 commodities are under active observation of the government. He also said that the government has decided to release an additional 50 lakh tonnes of rice to states for sale in the open market at above poverty line rate of 8.30 rupees per kilogram and allowed states to directly import pulses and edible oils to meet shortages.

The government has imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of 300 dollar per tonne on onions to curb overseas sales and check retail prices. A commerce ministry notification said that export of all onion varieties will be subject to the MEP of 300 dollar per tonne.

The MEP, which is the rate below which no exports are allowed, has been re-introduced barely three months after the previous government had abolished it in March. Onion prices have risen to about 25-30 rupees per kilogram in the national capital from 15-20 rupees per kilogram a fortnight ago.

The auction of onions at Nashik in Maharashtra will resume today after a gap of two days after traders called off their strike last evening. Our Correspondent reports that differences over how much wages should be paid to porters led onion traders to go on strike.

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Free Press Journal