Concerned over high food prices, especially of dal: Sinha

Oct 27, 2015, 15:06 IST | PTI

As high prices of pulses continue to pinch hard consumers' pockets, government today said it is monitoring the situation "very closely" and the long-term indicators suggest inflation is coming down substantially.

"We keep a very close eye on inflation. We have all been concerned about food prices, especially dal prices. We monitor those (prices) very very closely," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said here at an investment summit.

"At the same time, we have also to look at the long-term expectations of inflation, including what is happening at the
structural level and not just in terms of price spikes that happen at seasonal level.

"As we look at long-term structural inflation, all of indicators suggest that it is coming down substantially," he said.

The government has been making all-round efforts to contain skyrocketing price of pulses, which has soared to up to Rs 210 per kg in some parts of the country. To give relief to common man, some state governments have also started selling tur dal at a lower price of Rs 120-145/kg at retail points.

The Centre has also asked state governments to hold meeting with millers, wholesalers and retailers to make pulses available in retail markets at reasonable prices.

Dal prices have risen across the country due to a shortfall in domestic output by 2 million tonnes in 2014-15 hit by poor rains. There is also global shortage of lentils.

Nearly 75,000 tonnes of pulses were seized from hoarders in raids across 13 states till last week as part of the measures to control retail prices.

As per the Consumer Affairs Ministry's data, retail prices were still ruling high at Rs 200/kg as of yesterday, while Urad is selling at Rs 190/kg, moong dal at Rs 130/kg, masoor dal at Rs 110/kg and gram at Rs 85/kg.

Overall, inflation in food articles, based on Wholesale Price Index, inched up to 0.69 per cent in September, from (-)1.13 per cent in August.

Onion and pulses turned costlier, with inflation at 113.70 per cent and 38.56 per cent respectively during September.

Inflation in pulses remained over 36 per cent for four months in a row.

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