The government will shift the Rs 500-crore Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) to consumer affairs ministry from agriculture ministry for effective control of price rise in essential commodities and provide relief to the consumers.
Last year, the PSF was created with a corpus of Rs 500 crore under the agriculture ministry. The fund was to be used to support market interventions for managing prices of perishable agri-horticultural commodities by procuring directly from farmers and later supplying at reasonable rates to consumers.
“The purpose of PSF was to provide relief to consumers from price rise. So far, the fund has been used mostly with an aim to provide relief to farmers, who otherwise are covered under the minimum support price system. Hence, PSF is being shifted,” according to sources.
An in-principle approval has already been given to move this fund to the consumer affairs ministry, which faced difficulty in handling the pulses price issue last year in the absence of direct say in using the fund for timely market interventions, sources said.
Even food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan had raised this issue when retail pulses prices had shot up to Rs 200 per kg in most retail markets last year.
In the 2015-16 fiscal, the fund was being used for import of pulses as well as creation of buffer stock of lentils as the prices of these commodities were continuing to rule high.
It was also used to buy onion and potatoes to boost local supply and check rates. So far, 20,000 tonnes of pulses has been procured from farmers from 2015 kharif crops. Tenders have been floated to buy more pulses from overseas market.