Inflation within tolerance band; govt steps to check price rise – Nirmala Sitharaman | – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that inflation has been contained within the tolerable band, attributing the achievement to the government‘s efforts, particularly in managing prices of perishable commodities. Responding to questions, Sitharaman emphasized the successful measures taken to curb inflation, focusing on essential goods.
Sitharaman informed the house that the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is collaborating with the government on a project to de-humidify onions through Gamma Rays, aiming to extend their shelf life.Acknowledging the challenges arising from shortages of perishable goods not grown in India, Sitharaman highlighted the government’s proactive approach. She stated, “The committee sits and reviews periodically, and the efforts have shown on the ground that inflation is now within the tolerable band.”
India’s retail inflation has notably decreased from an average of 6.8% in April-December 2022 to 5.5% in the corresponding period of 2023. The retail inflation rate currently remains stable and falls within the notified tolerance band of 2% to 6%.
Addressing concerns about onion prices, Sitharaman outlined the government’s strategy, including an increase in the buffer size from 1 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) in 2020-21 to 7 LMT in 2023-24. As of February 3, 2024, 6.32 LMT of onions were procured, with 3.96 LMT of Grade-A onions released through various channels such as retail sales, e-Nam auctions, and bulk sales.
The finance minister underscored the ongoing efforts to improve the preservation of highly perishable commodities like onions. Steps have been taken to address supply shortages of perishable goods, with a particular focus on enhancing preservation methods.
Regarding pulses, Sitharaman highlighted that India imported 8.79 lakh metric tonnes of Tur Dal and 15.14 lakh metric tonnes of Masoor Dal in the calendar year 2023. The government introduced ‘Bharat Dal,’ a branded initiative offering Chana Dal at concessional prices. As of January 30, 2024, 2.97 lakh metric tonnes of Chana have been sold, making ‘Bharat Dal’ available in retail markets across the country.
Sitharaman concluded by stating that the government actively analyzes crop estimates to manage fluctuations in pulse prices, ensuring a stable supply and addressing concerns related to the prices of essential commodities. Retail inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stood at 5.69% in December 2023.

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