In view of the bumper production and arrivals, all procuring agencies have been directed continue with domestic procurement of pulses till April 22, 2017 instead of 15th April 2017, Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Food Minister said on Friday.
Talking to reporters, the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said that all procuring government agencies will buy the pulses direct from the farmers on MSP rate. Paswan informed that the government has procured around 18.10 lakh tonnes of pulses including 4 lakh tonnes of imports towards building the buffer stock of pulses of up to 20 lakh tonnes.
He further said that considering the quantity of sugar available with the carry over stock of 77 lakh tonnes and estimated current season’s production of 203 lakh tonnes is sufficient to meet the domestic consumption requirement at reasonable prices. The domestic demand of sugar consumption is 240-250 lakh tonnes. Paswan said that in order to address regional production gaps and also to maintain domestic prices at reasonable levels, Government decided to allow import of a restricted quantity of only 5 lakh tonnes of raw sugar at zero duty through open general license. Government also extended the time line for availing tariff-rate quota (TRQ) benefit (duty free) of 5 lakh tonnes of raw sugar import from June 12 to June 30, 2017.
Consumer Affairs Minister said that there cannot be two MRPs except in accordance with the law. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) is taking necessary action on the complaint of dual MRP. Paswan said that the Department of Consumer Affairs has directed state governments and union territories to stop the practice of dual MRP on packaged water. Paswan informed that the BCCI has complied with the directions and issued an advisory to all state cricket associations/stadiums to sale packaged mineral water on single MRP (all brands) during cricket match with immediate effect.
The Minister reiterated that the hotels and restaurants are following the practice of charging ‘service charge’ is an unfair trade practice. The ‘service charges” are discretionary/ voluntarily and a consumer dissatisfied with the services can have it waived off. Paswan further stated that the Department of Consumer Affairs has framed an advisory on the issue of service charge, which is in the final stage.
Paswan said the government does not want to fix the quantum of food that needs to be served by hotels and restaurants. There is no plan to impose any advisory, act or law, the Union Minister added.