The monthly average retail prices of packed edible oils have soared this month to their highest levels in over a decade, according to official data.
As per the government data, the retail prices of edible oils have risen over 62 per cent in over a year and is adding woes to consumers already reeling under the economic distress induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey, during a meeting on May 24 discussed in detail the reasons for the high rise in local prices and asked the states and industry stakeholders to take measures to soften the prices.
Central Organisation of Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT) Chairman Suresh Nagpal present in the meeting suggested the government will not reduce import duty from edible oils saying as it will discourage farmers for forthcoming Kharif sowing.
“Instead the government should take decisions to remove 5 per cent GST on mustard seed and mustard oil,” Nagpal told media.
“The need to hold the meeting was also felt because Centre got concerned about more than proportionate rise in the prices of edible oil in India as compared with the rise in international prices of edible oil during the last few months,” he said.
Nagpal suggested that the government should create a buffer stock of edible oils, purchasing it from local manufacturers and distribute through PDS to the ration cardholders and also use it for market interventions if required.
Besides, the government should ask commodity exchanges to bring down circuit limit on oilseeds and edible oils.
“We would also like to emphasise that international prices have come down in the last one week but its effect does not come immediately in the consumer market. Its impact will be seen next one week to 10 days,” Nagpal added.
He also asked the stakeholders to mail the suggestions and other inputs as the Centre makes efforts to ensure the availability of edible oils at reasonable prices.
The virtual meeting was attended by producers of edible oil seeds, millers, stockists, wholesalers, various associations of the edible oil industry sector, senior officials of States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.