Govt may check onion export to curb price rise

NEW DELHI: Export of politically-sensitive onions is expected to face the first set of checks as expectations of weak monsoon rains have prompted the government to begin work on keeping food inflation under control.

Sources said the government has identified onions, along with non-basmati rice, pulses, potatoes and milk as products that need intense monitoring given the possibility of a spike in prices in the coming months. Over the weekend, cabinet secretary Ajit Seth met officials from the food and consumer affairs, agriculture, finance and commerce and industry ministries to take stock of the price situation.

Since the government has comfortable stocks of grains, potato and onion at the moment, monitoring will be crucial so that supplies can be directed towards critical zones, officials said. Even then, onion exports will once again be subject to a minimum export price, which will be higher than the prevailing market price, to discourage outbound shipments of the key kitchen ingredient. Already, prices of onions used as seed have more than doubled over the past few weeks, market sources said.

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