In an effort to control the spiralling prices of essential commodities in the Capital, the Delhi Cabinet on Monday decided to set up a Market Intelligence and Forecasting Cell in the Food and Supplies Department.
"The loss of the Congress in the MCD elections was attributed to price rise. We do not want to take any chances for next year's Assembly elections," said a minister, who did not want to be named.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who presided over the Cabinet meeting, however said this was being done to keep a watch on the price movement of the commodities. "This would prove to be an integral and effective mechanism to control the rising prices of essential commodities," Dikshit said after the meeting.
The Market Intelligence Cell would compute the arrival data in respect of each commodity on a daily basis and compare it with the quantity and prices for the same period in the last two years. It would also study the impact on prices during natural and unnatural calamities in the areas of production and collect comprehensive information with respect to each commodity. The other functions would be to keep an eye on the international trends in respect of each commodity, find out the price trend in the international market and forecast the price trend to take corrective actions.
The Cabinet note said the Cell would collect the relevant data, analyse information and the factors affecting production and transportation of food items. The government would monitor the price trend in 12 items - rice, pulses, fresh fruits, potato, sugar, fish, wheat, fresh vegetable, onion, milk, eggs and poultry. "The mandate of the Cell would be enlarged to include other items and also the impact of the retail stores on the prices of essential items of consumption," the Cabinet note said.
A consultant, appointed by the government, would head the newly created Cell. The existing Market Intelligence cells in the Food and Supplies Department, Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board and staff Directorate of Planning and Statistics would assist the consultant.