Govt has imported 18,000 tons onion, making it available at Rs 22/kg for state govts: Ram Vilas Paswan

New Delhi: Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said that the union government has procured 18,000 tons of onion and is making them available to the state governments at Rs 22/kg. 

"Around 18,000 tons of onion has been imported now, but even after all the efforts, only 2,000 tons of onion has been sold. We are providing onion at Rs 22/kg now, I have always maintained that the government is making all efforts to make onions available. 

We are observing the prices and when the time comes we will take action on it," Paswan told reporters at a press conference. "We are bearing the transportation cost of onions and working on 'no profit, no loss' policy. 

So far, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have procured onions from the centre," he added. 

On the rise in retail inflation to 7.35 per cent in December 2019, Paswan said: "The government is observing everything. 

We are observing prices of oil and pulses too. Sixty per cent of refined oil requirements are imported in the country. We have to see the farmers' interests as well as the consumers' interests." 

The annual rate of inflation based on monthly wholesale price index (WPI) stood at 259 per cent in December as against 0.58 per cent in November due to increase in prices of food articles, data released by the government on Tuesday showed. 

The food inflation rate rose to 13.24 in December as against 11 per cent in November. Within this category, onions saw an inflation rate of 455.8 per cent compared to 172.3 per cent in November. 

The rate of vegetables climbed from 45.32 per cent in November to 69.69 per cent in December. A day earlier, data showed that consumer price index (CPD based retail inflation jumped to a five-year high of 7.35 per cent in December due to costlier food products like vegetables, pulses and protein-rich items. 

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