The Union Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry on Monday asserted that it will continue to monitor domestic stocks of tur and urad dals, and take measures to ensure that traders disclose their inventories properly.
According to an official statement, senior officers from the Department of Consumer Affairs visited 10 various locations across four states to interact and observe the stock disclosure status of tur and urad during the past few days.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh took an internal meeting with these officers who visited major pulses markets and interacted with various market players.
During the last week, a meeting with the All India Dal Mills Association in Indore was held on April 15. That apart, the department deputed 12 senior officers to visit various places in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu to take stock of ground reality.
"The interactions with ground-level market players and State officials revealed that while the number of registration and stock disclosure on the e-portal is increasing, a substantial number of market players have either not registered or failed to update their stock positions on a regular basis," the statement said.
It has been observed that stocks under transaction like farmer's stocks lying in mandi for auction and stocks awaiting customs clearance at ports etc. escaped the current monitoring mechanism.
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Further, the department also found out that millers and traders/dealers have resorted to holding their stocks in warehouses in the name of farmers in a deliberate attempt to escape stock declaration.
Senior officers of the department visited various locations, namely Indore, Chennai, Salem, Mumbai, Akola, Latur, Sholapur, Kalaburagi, Jabalpur and Katni, and interacted with officers of the state governments, millers, traders, importers and port authorities and conducted a meeting with associations of millers, importers and traders.
The market players were sensitised on the importance of stock declaration and have been asked to declare their stocks truthfully and regularly or else stringent action, such as seizure and confiscation of undeclared stocks, may be taken by the states, the statement said.
The office bearers of the importers' association informed that traders from states like Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are also importing tur dal through Chennai Port and requested clarification about their reporting in the State of Importers or in the State of receiving the import to ensure no duplication of data.
The department clarified that the stocks should be reported in the state where it is physically available/stocked, the statement said.
The department has already directed state governments and district administrations to intensify the enforcement of stock declaration by conducting stock verification and taking strict action on undisclosed stocks under the relevant sections of the EC Act, 1955, and the Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980.
States have also been asked to look into the data on FSSAI licences, APMC registration, GST registration, warehouses and custom bonded warehouses, and encourage these entities also to report their declarations of stock to widen the coverage of market players.
To improve the stock disclosure data, the department is making certain changes in the e-portal, such as incorporating text boxes for providing a warehouse in which stock is held, provision for dealer/commission agent/mandi trader to upload stock data of farmer lying in his shop yard for auctioning etc.
Further, the department has been in touch with Customs to take necessary action on importers who have deliberately delayed clearance of their consignments.
"The Department affirms its intention to sustain the efforts on monitoring the stocks of tur and urad. In this regard, subsequent follow-up visits are being planned in addition to the weekly review meetings taken by the Committee for Stock Monitoring under the chairmanship of Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs," the statement said.
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