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Inflation within tolerance band; Government steps to stop price rise – Nirmala Sitharaman.

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave this assurance to Rajya Sabha on Tuesday inflation is contained within the tolerable band, giving credit for the achievement Governmentefforts, especially in managing the prices of perishable goods. Responding to questions, Sitharaman highlighted the successful measures taken to curb inflation by focusing on essential commodities.
Sitharaman informed the House that the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) is collaborating with the government on a project to dehumidify onions through gamma rays, with the aim of extending their shelf life. Acknowledging the challenges posed by the shortage of perishable goods not grown in India, Sitharaman highlighted the government’s proactive approach. “The committee meets from time to time and reviews and the efforts on the ground have shown that inflation is now within tolerable limits,” he said.
India’s retail inflation has declined from an average of 6.8% in April-December 2022 to 5.5% in the same period in 2023. Retail inflation rate currently remains stable and falls within the notified range tolerance band From 2% to 6%.
Addressing concerns about onion prices, Sitharaman outlined the government’s strategy, which includes increasing the buffer size from 1 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) in 2020-21 to 7 LMT in 2023-24. Till February 3, 2024, 6.32 LMT onions were procured, of which 3.96 LMT Grade-A onions were released through various channels like retail sales, e-NAM auction and bulk sales.
The Finance Minister underlined the ongoing efforts to improve conservation of highly perishable commodities like onion. Steps have been taken to address the supply shortfall of perishable goods, with a special focus on enhancing conservation 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 launched ‘Bharat Dal’, a branded initiative offering chana dal at subsidized prices. Till January 30, 2024, 2.97 lakh metric tonnes of gram has been sold, making ‘Bharat Dal’ available in retail markets across the country.
Sitharaman concluded by saying that the government actively analyzes crop estimates to manage fluctuations in pulses prices, ensure stable supply and address concerns related to prices of essential commodities. Retail inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 5.69% in December 2023.

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