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Centre asks states to ensure full benefit of duty cut on edible oil

The move follows the suspension of future trading in mustard oil on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX).

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New Delhi: In a bid to provide relief from high edible oil prices in the festive season, the Centre has directed states to ensure that full benefit of duty reduction on the key kitchen item is passed on to the consumers.

The move follows the suspension of future trading in mustard oil on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX).

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In the wake of sky-rocketing edible oil prices, the government announced a reduction in the import duties on crude edible oil first in September this year, and thereafter in October 2021.

With edible oil prices staying at high levels for months despite import duty rationalisation, the Centre has also asked state governments to impose the stocks limits on edible oil and oilseeds.

The move is aimed at preventing the hoarding of these commodities and may help to control the domestic prices. Exporters and importers will be exempted from the order but they will have to comply with disclosure provisions.

The Department of Food and Public Distribution has requested states to assess the potential of rice bran oil production in the rice clusters and enhance the capacity of rice mills so as to ensure that rice bran oil is extracted to the maximum.

Major rice-producing states and UTs have been requested to advise the authorities concerned for promotion of setting up of rice bran oil plants in rice milling clusters.

Talking to reporters here on Friday, Food and Public Distribution Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said the government has taken a slew of measures to ensure that prices of essential items remain under control and do not hurt common man.

“The interventions of the central government along with the state governments’ proactive involvement have made it possible that cooling down effect (on prices) is much more in India than in several other countries,” he said, referring to the high prices of commodities in global market.

He noted that prices of most food key food items such as onion, potato and pulses have shown declining trend over the past few months.

In a presentation on measures taken by the government to calm down prices, a senior official noted that imports of pulses had been increased in the current year to keep prices in check.

As per the official data, the imports of tur dal in the current fiscal till October 19 stood at 3.32 lakh MT compared to 0.40 lakh MT in the previous year. Urad dal imports during this period stood at 2.97 lakh metric tonne as against 2.20 lakh MT in 2020-21.

The import volume of moong dal was 1.05 lakh MT in 2021-22 (till October 19) as against 0.21 lakh MT in 2020-21 and 0.64 lakh MT in 2019-20.

The official said prices of major WPI (wholesale price index) group are witnessing declining trend since May 2021. WPI based inflation of food items has fallen from 8.25 per cent in May 2021 to 1.14 per cent in September 2021.

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