Finance Minister Arun Jaitely directed the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs to remain vigilant, work closely with the States and take immediate measures, including stepping up procurement of pulses, enhancing and building up of buffer stocks.
Jaitely today called a high level meeting in New Delhi to review the prices of essential commodities essentially the prices of pulses. The meeting was attended by the Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary besides Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Food, Consumer Affairs, Revenue and Commerce.
The Finance Minister emphasized the importance of ensuring adequate availability of essential commodities and taking proactive steps to hold the price line at reasonable levels. He urged all the related departments to ensure that the common citizen has access to adequate supplies of essential commodities in the ensuing months, especially during the festive season.
The meeting observed that following the sustained de-hoarding operations undertaken, the wholesale as well as retail prices of pulses have moderated in the last two weeks. On an average prices, across the country have declined by about Rs 20 per kg. With the ongoing market arrivals of Urad dal and arrival of the new crop of Arhar dal expected in early December, the prices would ease further. The supply situation would be further augmented when the lakh and thirty thousand tons of pulses seized in the States come back into the retail market.
The Cabinet Secretary also held a video conference later in the day with the Chief Secretaries of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh to review the progress of disposal of pulses seized in the de-hoarding operations. States have been directed to complete the disposal process and ensure availability of pulses in the retail market early.