HomeEconomyNo more tears: onion management in safe hands, consumer affairs secretary Rohit...

No more tears: onion management in safe hands, consumer affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh assures steady supply with increased buffer stock

By Ram Kumar Kaushik

This is the phase of an year when cloud brings rains and onions bring tears. But not this year. secretary Rohit Kumar Singh has ensured no rise in prices of onions.

“Usually, onion prices in the retail markets come under pressure for 20 days or so till the fresh kharif crop hits the . But this time, there won't be a problem.”

He said that the has geared up well in advance to meet the increasing demand during festive season.

“We have procured 20% more onion at 3 lakh tonnes as buffer stock this year. This will help us deal with any eventuality during festive season of October November before the kharif harvest,” he said.

Onion prices, which have changed government in the past, have been moderate during the tenure of the current secretary Rohit Kumar Singh, a 1989 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer. There has been no export ban or panic in last one and a half years since his annexation.

“Better planning and tight monitoring have helped control this seasonal price hike in onions. Rohit Kumar Singh is quite sensitive to consumer issues. He personally keeps a tight vigil on price movement of commodities,” said a senior officer of consumer affairs department.

The government has increased intake of onions in buffer stock to rule out any supply gap.

In year 2021-22, the buffer stock was 2 lakh tonnes which was increased to 2.5 lakh tonnes in 2022-23, which has been further risen to 3 lakh tonnes. The department purchases onions through farmers' cooperative Nafed.

Tomato prices to cool off

The consumer affairs is also geared up to cool off the rising tomato prices. It has offloaded tomatoes at Rs 80-90 a kg – almost half the market price.

Tomatoes are being sold through the network of Nafed and National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF), which are also procuring tomatoes from key producing centres of , Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Rohit Kumar Singh said that the government for the first time, is procuring and selling tomatoes in retail markets.

“We have done that for onion. It is going to be a challenging task as tomato is a highly perishable commodity. The sale of tomatoes at discounted rates will continue till prices cool down, which is likely at the beginning of August,” Singh said.

The BuckStopper Reporter
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The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.
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