The Centre has swung into action, taking multiple steps to wipe off the onion tears. To begin with, on Friday, it imposed stock holding limits on onion retailers and wholesale traders. A cap of 2 tonnes will apply to the former while a stock limit of 25 tonnes will apply to the latter; this limit will remain in effect till December 31 and is expected to improve domestic availability of the staple vegetable.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is also closely monitoring the prices on a day-to-day basis through a dashboard. It says the prices have shot up more than 100%, as against the average of the last five years. The government’s pre-emptive steps to moderate the price rise before the expected arrival of the Kharif crop of onions were frustrated by the recent heavy rainfall in parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
To tide over the crisis, the department has ordered swift release of onions from the government's Rabi buffer stock of 1 lakh tonnes. A further spurt is expected in prices after the Navratras end on Sunday. The prices remain subdued during nine days of the festival since most people do not consume onions while fasting.
STATES TO DECIDE SUGARCANE PRICE:
The Centre has relinquished its powers under the Sugarcane Control Order of 1966 to fix the fair and remunerative prices of sugarcane for the season 2020-21, starting from October 1, two months after the Union Cabinet raised the FRP on August 19 to Rs 285 per quintal. A gazette notification issued on October 22 by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food has given the liberty to the concerned state government/Union Territory to fix the FRP rate for the sugar mills in their territory where the concerned sugar mill is located.
The notification also confers on concerned state government/Union Territory the power to fix the FRP with effect from the last sugar season of 2019-20. This may result in a particular mill lobbying with the state government to get its backlog of unpaid dues to farmers reduced in the previous year.