Government has taken many proactive steps to control the prices of food items: Food and Consumer Affairs Minister

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Union Minister Piyush Goyal. File.
| Photo Credit: ANI

Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on December 24 said that the Centre has taken many proactive steps in the past few years to control retail prices of food items, and that the government would keep inflation under control while ensuring the country’s economic growth.

He was addressing an event, organised by the Ministry here, to celebrate National Consumers Day.

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“Today, India has become the fastest growing large economy. Going forward, we will keep inflation under check and also ensure economic growth,” Mr. Goyal said.

Retail inflation inched up to a three-month high of 5.55% in November, driven by higher food prices, according to the latest official data. Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was at 4.87% in October. Inflation had been declining since August, when it touched 6.83%.

On the steps taken by the Central government, Mr. Goyal highlighted that 140 new price monitoring centres had been set up to keep a close watch on wholesale and retail prices of essential commodities.

“Today, prices are being monitored at 550 [consuming] centres on a daily basis. This helps in insulating consumers from price rise,” he said.

In the last two years, he said, when the world had witnessed very high inflation, especially in food items, India had been able to control inflation through proactive fiscal and monetary policies.

“Whenever inflation [in some commodity] started rising, the government took proactive measures and controlled it,” he said. Mr. Goyal cited measures taken by the Centre to control price rise in tomatoes and onions in a short period of time.

In the case of onions, the Minister said the government was purchasing onions from farmers to create buffer stock and ensure they received a fair price of their produce.

He also highlighted that the Centre was selling ‘Bharat dal’ (lentil) at ₹60 per kg and ‘Bharat atta’ (flour) at ₹27.50 per kg to provide relief to the common man.

The government has banned the export of wheat, broken rice, non-basmati white rice, and onions. It has also reduced import duties on edible oils and pulses to boost domestic supply and control price rise.

Speaking of consumer protection issues, Mr. Goyal appreciated the work done by his Ministry and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to resolve consumers’ grievances. He stressed the need to clear backlog of cases pending at consumer courts at the national, State, and district levels.

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