New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday termed the rise in onion prices as a “temporary phenomenon” and said the government has no control over production of the commodity.
“This is a large country. These things happen. Centre does not control production. It is a temporary phenomenon,” Singh told reporters at an Iftar party.
Meanwhile, the prices of onion, a politically sensitive commodity, have begun to soften as the new crop has started arriving at different mandis in Maharashtra, the largest producing state.
The steps announced by the Centre, such as the hike in Minimum Export Price (MEP), have also helped in increasing the availability of the commodity and curbing the price rise.
Onion prices today fell to Rs 15-18 per kg from Rs 16-19 a kg yesterday in the wholesale market of national capital, traders said. Prices are likely to come down further to Rs 14-15 per kg by Monday, they added.
Government has formalised canalising of onion exports and quantum of the licence would be decided by the Food Ministry. Onion exports during the first half of this fiscal have fallen by 37 per cent to 3.84 lakh tonne compared to 6.05 lakh tonnes a year ago.
Onion prices this year rose as production was hit last year in Maharashtra due to farmers’ diversifying to sugarcane crop. Production of the commodity is estimated at 6.66 million tons during 2006-07 crop year ending September against 8.68 million tones produced in previous year.