States told to levy 0 tax on food items


Concerned over the rising food inflation, the Central government has asked the State governments to remove all local taxes on essential food items such as pulses and edible oils, a government statement said on Sunday.
The Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry has written to the Chief Secretaries, asking the States to intervene in the market in real time and review the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts on priority to allow farmers to sell pulses and other essential food items at any place of their choice, minimising the stages of the supply chain from the farm gate to consumer.
“It will ensure reasonable prices for consumers and also fetch better prices for farmers,” said the letter written by Hem Pande, Secretary, Consumer Affairs Department.
He has drawn the attention of the States to the action plan adopted at the Food Ministers meeting in May. The States were requested to consider a pricing policy for pulses and such other essential food items under Section 3(2) (c) of the Essential Commodities Act and to make it enforceable for all stakeholders to cap the prices.
Price stabilisation fund
The Centre has asked the States to implement the price stabilisation fund scheme for market intervention to enhance availability of essential commodities and check their prices.
“For successful functioning of the scheme, adequate and timely lifting of pulses from buffer stock is a prerequisite, besides strengthening storage facilities for pulses, edible oils, and onions,” the letter said. The States have been advised to keep a close watch on hoarding and black marketing ahead of the festival season.
The Centre asked the States to create a robust information management system and to strengthen the price monitoring cells.
With rising inflation, Centre plans to allow farmers to sell their produce at any place of their choice

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