Government Thursday said it is looking into the possibility of a reduction in import duty on sugar to check prices and also assured it will not let the prices of sweetener as well as chana dal to rise. At present, there is 40 per cent import duty on sugar. Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government will soon start selling pulses through post offices.
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“We will not allow prices of chana dal and sugar to rise. We have many ways to control rates,” Paswan told reporters on the sidelines of a Consumer Mela organised at Connaught Place in the national capital.
“We are selling pulses through Mother Dairy and Kendriya Bahandar outlets. Now, we have deiced to sell pulses through post offices. We will soon run pilot project at 100 places,” he said.
Paswan said the government is monitoring the prices of all essential commodities including chana dal and sugar and will take measures to check prices. He warned hoarders to offload stock in the market. Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande said the possibility of reducing import duty on sugar is being “examined”.
Yesterday, Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha reviewed the availability as well as the prices of essential commodities and asked the Department of Consumer Affairs to consider all options to check the prices of chana dal and sugar. According to government data, chana dal is currently being sold at an average price of Rs 110 per kg. The maximum price is Rs 145 per kg. Sugar is available at an average price of Rs 40 per kg, although the maximum rate is Rs 47 per kg.
In the national capital, chana dal is available at Rs 136 per kg and sugar at Rs 43 per kg. Earlier addressing the event, Paswan asked celebrities to endorse products after giving due consideration. He said the industry should do proper labelling on products and display manufacturing/expiry dates, MRP and process of redressal of consumer grievances prominently.
He directed corporates to advertise only that what is written on the product. The minister said the government is making provisions in new Consumer Protection Bill to take strict action against misleading advertisements and adulteration.
Paswan said a group of ministers would soon meet to finalise the amendments in the new Bill and hoped that it would be passed in the upcoming Parliament session. The Centre in August last year had introduced the Consumer Protection Bill 2015, in Lok Sabha, to repeal the 30 -year-old Consumer Protection Act. A Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted its recommendations in April.