Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday termed hoarding as an anti-national activity and asked state governments to rise above politics to control prices by effectively enforcing the Essential Commodities Act.
The current price rise is a temporary phenomenon created by hoarders, he said.
“Controlling inflation is a national issue. In a federal set up, it is the responsibility of both the Centre and states to check prices. There should be no confrontation between the Centre and states. We should not score political point on this issue,” he said.
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The Essential Commodities Act is in place. The issue is how effectively the law is being enforced, he added.
Paswan also asked state governments to enforce the Act effectively against hoarders and black marketers to boost supply and check prices.
“We should come up with a concrete plan against hoarders who are doing a anti-national activity against the interest of consumers,” he said at a conference of state food and consumer affairs ministers on food inflation.
The Centre has taken several steps like raising the minimum export price of onion and potato to check price rise, but the long-term solution lies in developing a nationalised market, the Food Minister said.
A nationalised market will allow farmers to sell their produces freely. At present, farmers have to pay different fees and taxes to sell their produces in the APMC mandis (Agricultural Produce Market Committee).
Paswan said there is a need to set up a storage facility for onion and potato during the lean season.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh asked state governments to focus on strengthening market integration, information and infrastructure.