Congress claims Centre against bill to control prices of pulses, Maha govt denies | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Congress claims Centre against bill to control prices of pulses, Maha govt denies

The Congress alleged that the state was unable not table a proposed bill to regulate prices of pulses owing to the objection from the centre, which claimed that it would be against the doctrine of the free market economy...

mumbai Updated: Apr 11, 2017 23:53 IST
Surendra P Gangan
The Maha government cabinet had approved the draft bill in April 2016, claiming that it would be an effective step to control spiralling prices of pulses, especially tur dal (pigeon pea) which saw a rise of up to Rs200 per kg.
The Maha government cabinet had approved the draft bill in April 2016, claiming that it would be an effective step to control spiralling prices of pulses, especially tur dal (pigeon pea) which saw a rise of up to Rs200 per kg. (HT file )

The Congress alleged that the state was unable to introduce a bill to regulate prices of pulses because of an objection from the Centre, which claimed that it would be against the doctrines of free market economy. The state had approved the draft bill in April 2016, saying that it would be an effective way to control spiralling prices of pulses.

Almost a year after the cabinet’s decision, the state had been maintaining that it was complying with the queries raised by the centre and the bill would be introduced at the appropriate time. The Congress said that the centre was against the bill, owing to which the state was unable to introduce the bill. As per documents obtained under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the centre had said that bringing such a bill was against the doctrine of the free market.

“In the free market economy, the prices of any commodity are determined by the market forces of demand and supply. Based on the market conditions the producers and consumers take the decision of the production and the consumption. The proposed bill is against the basic principles of the economy and if enacted the bill will lead to the artificial control on prices creating further distortion and parallel economy,” the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare stated in its reply.

The state, however, has reiterated that the bill was very much on its agenda and would be tabled soon in the legislature.

Sachin Sawant, Congress spokesperson, said, “The state failed to control the prices of pulses last year as it was acting in the interest of the traders and a handful corporate houses. The government announced to bring a regulatory act, but the agriculture ministry opposed it. When we tried to inquire about the status of the bill, the food and civil supplies department denied to furnish the information under RTI. We then approached the central information commission.”

Food and civil supplies department, however, denied the allegation and said the bill was very much on the cards and it will be tabled in the legislature once the centre approves it.

“There are remarks by several departments on the draft bill and the ones made by the agriculture ministry are one of them. This does not mean that the centre is against the bill. When we brought the bill pertaining beef ban, the commerce ministry had opposed it citing loss of business. In this case, the centre had said that most of the provisions in the bill are already mentioned in the Essential Commodity Act and might overlap in the new bill. However, despite all this, it still gave us permission to bring out such a bill,” said Mahesh Pathak, principal secretary, food and civil supplies department.

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