New Delhi: The domestic prices of rice are increasing despite a good crop this Kharif, ample stock with the Food Corporation of India (FCI), and in the pipeline and various regulations in place on rice exports. The retail prices have increased by 14.51% over the past year.
To curb the prices of rice, and to manage the overall food inflation and prevent unscrupulous speculation, the central government today mandated stock disclosure of rice and paddy by traders/wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers and processors/millers in all States and Union Territories, until further orders. They will now have to declare the stock position of paddy and rice in categories such as (i) Broken Rice, (ii) Non-Basmati White Rice, (iii) Parboiled Rice, (iv) Basmati Rice, (v) Paddy.
The entities are expected to update it every Friday on the portal of the Department of Food and Public Distribution. The stock position of Rice shall be declared by these entities within 7 days of the issue of the order.
Further, to check inflationary trends in the food economy, the Centre today decided to start retail sales of ‘Bharat Rice’ to general consumers. In the first phase, 5 LMT of rice has been allocated for retail sale under the ‘Bharat Rice’ brand through 3 agencies – NAFED, NCCF and Kendriya Bhandar. The retail price for the sale of ‘Bharat Rice’ to general consumers will be Rs. 29/kg. Rice will be sold in 5 Kg and 10 Kg Bags. The ‘Bharat Rice’ will be available for purchase from mobile vans and physical outlets of the three central co-operative agencies, to begin with, and it will also be available through other retail chains including e-commerce platforms very soon.
The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution claimed that sufficient stock of good quality rice was available with the FCI which was being offered to traders/wholesalers under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) at a reserve price of Rs. 29/Kg.
To increase the sale of rice in the open market, the Centre reduced the reserve price of rice from Rs. 3100/quintal to Rs. 2900/quintal and the minimum and maximum quantity of rice was revised to 1 Metric Ton and 2000 MT respectively. Till January 31, 2024, 1.66 LMT rice had been sold in the open market which was the highest sale in any year under OMSS (Domestic) for rice.
The Ministry said it was also closely monitoring the domestic retail prices of edible oils to ensure that the full benefit of the decrease in international prices is passed on to the end consumers. The government has taken the following measures to control and ease the prices of edible oils in the domestic market: –
- The basic duty on crude palm oil, crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil was reduced from 2.5% to nil. Further, the agri-cess on these oils was brought down from 20% to 5%. This duty structure has been extended up to March 31, 2025.
- The basic duty on refined soybean oil, refined sunflower oil and refined palm oils has been reduced to 12.5%. This duty has been extended up to March 31, 2025.
The international prices of major edible oils such as crude soybean oil, crude sunflower oil, crude palm oil and refined palm oils have shown a decreasing trend since last year. The Government claimed that to ensure that the decrease in the international prices of edible oils gets passed on fully in the domestic market, the retail prices of mustard oil, soyabean oil, sunflower oil and RBD palm olein were decreased by 18.32%, 17.07%, 23.81% and 12.01% as on February 1, 2024 respectively over a year.
– global bihari bureau