New Delhi: The retail prices of wheat and rice have again increased to Rs 29.59 per kilogramme and Rs 40.82 per kg, respectively in July, Parliament was informed on Wednesday. Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, in her written reply to the Lok Sabha, said the retail prices of wheat and rice are continuously changing and the government is closely monitoring the prices.
The average retail price of wheat in January was Rs 31.58 per kg, which reduced to Rs.28.74 per kg in May. Thereafter, the average retail price of wheat has again increased to Rs 29.59 per kg in July, she said.
In case of rice too, the average retail price has increased to Rs 40.82 per kg in July from Rs 38.09 per kg in January.
The minister said the government has taken various steps from time to time to augment domestic availability and stabilize the prices of essential food commodities.
These steps, inter-alia, include releases of wheat and rice under OMSS(D) from the buffer to cool down prices, imposition of wheat stock limits, monitoring of stocks declared by entities to prevent hoarding and restrictions on exports of the commodity, she added.
Replying to a similar query, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ashwini Kumar Choubey said the retail prices of rice, wheat and atta have increased on year-on-year basis by 10.5 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 8.5 per cent, respectively.
Among vegetables, the all-India average retail price of potato is about 12 per cent lower than that of last year, while the price of onion about 5 per cent higher than last year, he said.
The price of tomato has increased in recent weeks on account of a combination of factors like crop seasonality, white fly disease in Kolar, instantaneous arrival of monsoon rains in northern part of the country, which adversely affected tomato crops in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, and logistics disruptions in isolated areas due to heavy rains, he added.
In order to check the current increase in prices of tomato and make it available to the consumers at affordable prices, the minister said the government has started the procurement of tomatoes under Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) and is making it available at a highly subsidised rate to consumers.