17 July:Minister for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Sharad Pawar today informed the Consultative Committee attached to his ministry that the Government has provided relief to the poorer sections of the society by making available edible oil with a subsidy of Rs. 15/- per Kg. through the State Governments.
The other measures taken in the context of rise in prices of edible oil include reduction of import duty to zero percent on crude oil and 7.5% on refined oils, ban on export of all major edible oils and authorizing State Governments to impose stock limits. However, in the long run, availability of edible oils at reasonable prices can be ensured only by increasing production of edible oilseeds in the country.He further added that the wholesale prices of mustard oil has over the last one year gone up by about 38% whereas groundnut oil prices have increased by 3% in the domestic market. International prices of soyabean oil and RBD palmolein have gone up by 84% and 47% respectively whereas domestic prices of these oils have gone up by 45% and 29% respectively during the same period of last one year. Therefore, to moderate the prices of edible oils, the increase in the domestic prices of edible oils has been kept low as compared to international prices.
He also informed the members that in spite of increase by 167% in domestic production of oilseeds from 108 lakh tonnes in 1985-86 to 288.2 lakh tonnes in 2007-08, domestic supply of edible oils fall short because demand for edible oils has been increasing at a pace faster than than of production due to growth in population and improvement in the standards of living of people. According to the projections made for the 10th Five Year Plan, the annual consumption of edible oils in the country has increased from 98 lakh tonnes in 2001-02 to 124 lakh tonnes in 2006-07. The demand is projected to increase from 127 lakh tonnes in 2007-08 to 149 lakh tonnes in 2011-12. The deficit in domestic supply of about 4 to 5 million tonnes of edible oils is being met by imports.
Shri Pawar further said that the Government has taken a number of initiatives to improve the productivity and production of oilseeds in the country. An allocation of Rs. 320.00 crores has been made under Centrally-Sponsored Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oilpalm and Maize (ISOPOM) during 2008-09. The States can take up activities for oilseeds development under other schemes, i.e. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and Macro Management of Agriculture. The production of oilseeds increased from 11 million tonnes in 1985-06 to 29 million tonnes in 2007-08. This was brought about not only by an increase in area but also by improving the productivity from 570 Kg. to 1064 Kg. per hectare. There has been a record oilseed production during 2007-08, which is about 19% higher than the production in 2006-07.
The Minister said that enhanced incentives are provided to the farmers through fixation of higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) of major oilseeds so as to make oilseeds cultivation profitable to farmers. MSP for Groundnut which was Rs. 1340 per quintal in 2001-02 has been raised to Rs. 1550 per quintal in 2007-08. MSP for Mustard which was Rs. 1300 per quintal in 2001-02 is Rs. 1800 per quintal in 2007-08.
He informed that the import dependence of edible oils has been 34-39% of the total of edible oil consumption of 120-133 lakh tonnes during the last few years. Of the oils imported, palm oils constituted 67% in 2006-07 and 90% in 2007-08 (upto May 2008).
Dr. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Minister of State Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution also attended the meeting.
The following Members of Parliament attended the meeting: S/Shri P.C. Gaddigoudar, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, Gauri Shankar Chaturbhuj Bisen, K. Francis Geroge, M. Appadurai, K. Dhanaraju, Alok Kumar Mehata, Kailash Baitha (Lok Sabha), Thennala G. Balakrishna Pillai, Pyarelal Khandelwal and Sharad Joshi (Rajya Sabha).