The Union Government has agreed, in order to curb rising food prices, to import 10 lakh tons of potatoes in order to stem rising prices. The government will import, without a licence, 30,000 tons of potato from Bhutan. The retail price of potatoes has been above Rs 40 per kilogram across most of India's states. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said the government is taking aggressive measures to moderate the inflationary prices of potatoes. The Minister declared that the import duty on potatoes had been reduced to 10% from 30% in the past. Now, by 31 January 2021, the quota of 10 Lakh Metric Tons of potato will be imported at 10 per cent import duty. In the case of pulses, Goyal claimed that the time limit for imports of tur under the import quota of 4 lakh tons for FY21 had been extended until 31 December 2020, while imports of urad under the import quota of 1.5 lakh tons already given had been expedited. Government is also supplying the buffer stock states with moong, tur and urad making a retail intervention to minimise costs. In the next 15 days, Goyal said, 2 lakh tons of tur from the buffer will be disposed of by open market sales.
He added that the government has also agreed to extend the MoU with Mozambique to import 2 lakh tons of turad for a further five years and is in the process of signing an MoU with Myanmar to import 2,5 lakh tons of urad for a further five years. 25,000 tons of onions were also expected to be imported by the Centre before Diwali. This will be in addition to the 7,000 tons of onions that NAFED, through private importers, has already procured. The Government also invoked the Critical Commodities Act setting limits on onion stock of 25 tons for wholesalers and 2 tons for distributors as of 23 October. The government banned exports of onion seeds with immediate effect earlier on Thursday. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) declared in a notice that it was banning the export of onion seeds. The export of onion seeds was previously in a limited group.
The government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has banned the export of onion seeds, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said, ensuring that onion is available at affordable prices for consumers.