A lot of misinformation has been spread over the recently passed farm laws. A lot of hue and cry was raised regarding the rising price of onions as well. And both of these intersected in the recent claims made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the month of December.
Kejriwal claimed that as a consequence of the newly passed farm laws, it would be legal to hoard agricultural products. As an example of the ill effects of hoarding, he cited the rise in the prices of onions.
नया कृषि कानून किसानों के साथ-साथ आम जनता के भी ख़िलाफ़ है। इस कानून से जमाखोरों को आज़ादी मिलेगी जिससे महंगाई कई गुना बढ़ जाएगी। pic.twitter.com/O1APLgC2Ns— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 14, 2020
However, there has been a 60% drop in the all-India average price of onions since 2019, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan informed late December 2020. “In one month alone, the all-India average retail price of onion has dropped by 33.33 per cent to Rs 40 per kg today from Rs 60 per kg on November 30 this year,” she told PTI.
Nandan attributed the drop in onion prices to timely government measures undertaken to check the rise in prices. “Lot of facilitation was done at Attari-Wagah border (Punjab) and at seaports for quick evacuation of imported onions. Good quantities of imported onions arrived,” she said.
Nandan stated, “Around Rs 70,000-75,000 tonnes of onions were imported through private trades in 2020. Nafed also imported around 3,000 tonnes of onions.” Such interventions have contributed to the drop in onion prices.
In October 2020, the government highlighted the steps taken to moderate onion prices and the reasons for price rise in a press notification. It said, “In order to moderate the price rise,the government took a pre-emptive step by announcing a ban on onion export on 14.09.2020 so as to ensure availability to domestic consumers at reasonable rates, before the expected arrival of Kharif onion.”
The statement said further, “Thus the retail price rise was moderated to some extent, but recent reports of heavy rainfall in the onion growing districts of Maharashtra, Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have created concerns about damage to Kharif crop. These developments on the weather front have contributed to the sharp increase in onion prices.”
The Government had further announced that onions were being released from the buffer stock and were being imported as well to moderate the prices. Traders were already being contacted to increase imports. All such measures have contributed towards reducing the prices of crops across the country.
Nandan also informed that the government has decided to increase the buffer stock of onions from 1 lakh tonnes to 1.5 lakh tonnes for the year 2021 Rabi season.