People across the country have condemned the hike in onion prices and lamented over the government’s apathy towards poor and middle classes, who are deeply affected by the skyrocketing food prices.

Rahmat Uneesa, a resident of Bangalore, said the hike is leading to a more expensive cost of living.

"The price of onion has increased once again. It is becoming very difficult for the common man to survive. Modi is not doing anything for the welfare of citizens. They are just increasing prices again and again,” added Siliguri resident P Das.

This is the second time within a month that the price of onions has increased.

A shopkeeper said the customers are questioning them for the hiked price.

"The hike in onion prices has affected the onion market by around 100 rupees,” another onion seller from Delhi said.

Centre swings into action to check rising food prices

Concerned over the rise in prices of food items, the Centre swung into action with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking stock of the situation and the states being told to take urgent measures against hoarding and ensure ‘uninterrupted’ flow of supplies.
    
The Centre has also called a meeting of state Food and Consumer Affairs Ministers to discuss measures to contain inflation, which rose to 6.01 percent in May.
    
The meeting, to be chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will discuss among other things implementation of the National Food Security Act.
    
As the prices continued to rise, the Prime Minister took stock of the situation and directed Consumer Affairs Secretary Keshav Desiraju to write to Chief Secretaries of all states to take corrective steps, official sources said.
    
Soon after, Desiraju wrote to the states saying urgent measures at the state level are required to tackle the situation.
    
"Needless to say, the rise in prices of onion has been a matter of great concern with the government. Several steps have been taken recently to bring under control the rise in prices of this essential item," he wrote.
    
"The reported spurt in prices could considerably impact the budget of ordinary public. So, urgent measures at the state level are required to tackle the situation," he said in his letter to Chief Secretaries.
    
The Centre's step came as prices of essential commodities, particularly onion, increased. In the national capital, onions are retailing for Rs 25-30 a kg, while the wholesale price is about Rs 18 a kg.

Desiraju underlined that actions need to be taken to eliminate any hitch in the supply chain and to ensure an uninterrupted supply of onion so that the scope for speculation is eliminated and the general public is not subjected to any hardship because of price rise.

Centre to ask states to check onion hoarding at retail level

The Centre will ask the state governments to take action against retailers hoarding onion stocks after it found a huge gap between wholesale and retail prices, a top Consumer Affairs Ministry official said.
    
Unsatisfied with steps taken by the states so far to crack down on hoarders, the Consumer Affairs Ministry will write a fresh letter asking them to take stern action against hoarding at the retail and wholesale levels.
    
In the national capital, onions are retailing for Rs 25-30 a kg, while the wholesale price is about Rs 18 a kg.
    
Noting the huge gap between wholesale and retail prices of onions, Consumer Affairs Secretary Keshav Desiraju said, "There is no reason for price rise because stocks are abundant. There should not be any problem in supply. The wholesale prices are low. We are aware of that onion price increase is happening at the retail level.”

He said the state governments have been asked several times to crack down on hoarding and black-marketing at the retail level and will be asked again.
    
To check hoarding, Desiraju said three states -- Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Delhi -- have sought the Centre’s permission to impose a stock control order on onion traders.
    
According to sources, over 35,000 raids have been conducted against hoarders, mostly in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, and 6,223 people have been arrested since January.
Onion prices are on rise amid the possibility of a below-normal monsoon even though supplies are sufficient in the wake of last year's good crop.

Onion rates up 40 percent at Lasalgaon market

    
Onion prices have shot up 40 percent in the last two weeks to Rs 18.50 per kg at Lasalgaon, the country's largest wholesale market for the edible bulb, despite the imposition of minimum export price on the vegetable to check its domestic rates from going up.
    
Prices have increased due to speculation amid anticipation of weak monsoon affecting Kharif (summer-sown) crops, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Director R P Gupta said.
    
The impact of rise in onion prices at Lasalgaon in Nashik is being felt at Delhi's Azadpur market where they are ruling at Rs 15-25 per kg depending upon the quality, traders said.
    
Average rate of onions at Lasalgaon have soared to Rs 18.50 per kg from Rs 13.25 per kg on June 18, as per NHRDF.     

On June 17, the Centre had imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD 300 per tonne on onion to curb overseas sales and control rising retail prices.
    
In last one month, prices have jumped by 90 per cent to Rs 18.50 per kg as against Rs 9.75 per kg on May 30.
    
About 39 lakh tonnes of rabi onion is stored in the country but that may not be sufficient if Kharif crop gets affected on account of deficient monsoon, he added.
    
The Met department has predicted a below normal monsoon this year, posing threat to Kharif crops including rice. Monsoon rains are key for the farm sector as about 40 percent of agriculture land is irrigated through rain water.
    
The domestic demand during the lean period from June to November is met through stored rabi (winter) crops and fresh kharif (summer) crops.
    
Onion production is estimated to have risen to 192 lakh tonne during 2013-14 crop year (July-June), from 168 lakh tonne in 2012-13. Meanwhile, the exports fell to 13.58 lakh tones last fiscal from 18.22 lakh tonnes in 2012-13.

JPN/Agencies

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