Friday, January 28, 2022

Measures taken to keep inflation under control

The Central Government has taken various measures to keep inflation under control. In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary gave details of the following:-

Crude Oil & Petroleum Products: With effect from November 4, 2012, the Government has lowered the Central Excise Duty on Fuel and Diesel by Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 respectively, in order to keep petrol and diesel prices in check. Many state governments have responded by lowering the value-added tax on gasoline and diesel. Retail gasoline and diesel prices have fallen across the country.

Essential Commodities: The price situation of major essential commodities is being monitored by the Government on a regular basis and corrective action is taken from time to time.

Pulses: (i) For 2021-22, a buffer stock target of 23 lakh metric tonne (LMT) has been set. Stocks have been utilized for cooling down prices through supply to states and disposal through Open Market sales.
(ii) In July 2021, the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 imposes stock limitations on various pulses to prevent stockpiling.
(iii) Import policy changes, with Tur and Urad remaining in the “free” category until December 31, 2021.
(iv) On Masur, the basic import tariff and Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess has been reduced to 0% and 10%, respectively.
(v) Five-year memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have been signed with Myanmar for yearly imports of 2.5 LMT of Urad and 1 LMT of Tur, Malawi for annual imports of 0.50 LMT of Tur, and Mozambique for annual imports of 2 LMT Tur has been extended for another 5 years.

Edible Oils: To reduce edible oil costs, the import duty on edible oils has been reduced, and supply limits have been established to prevent hoarding until March 31, 2022. To increase domestic production and availability of oil palm, the National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm has been approved with a financial outlay of Rs.11,040 crore.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana

The Minister stated that in the aftermath of the COVlD-19 pandemic crisis in the country, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) was launched in April 2020 to provide additional free food grains to about 80 crore National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries in the country initially for a period of three months from April to June 2020 which was later extended for a further period of 5 months from July to November 2020. ‘’This year, the PMGKAY scheme was resumed for a period of another 7 months from May to November 202l and has been further extended up to March 2022,’’ he added.

Further, under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme (ANBS) food grains were given to all states/UTs for free distribution to migrants/stranded migrants and all those not having NFSA or any state PDS ration cards, for a period of two months of May and June 2020.

Additionally, One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) enabled NFSA beneficiaries to use their same/existing ration card with biometric authentication on an electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) device to lift the entitled food grains for themselves or on behalf of the entire household from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) in the country. According to the Minister, the ONORC plan has been implemented in 34 states/territories, benefiting about 75 crore people (94.3 percent of the country’s NFSA population).

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