India is the world’s biggest vegetable oil importer and spends an average of $8.5-$10 billion annually on edible oil imports.
The Centre on Sunday imposed stock limits on traders of edible oils and oilseeds, barring importers and exporters, till March 31, in a bid to check rising domestic prices and give relief to consumers.
Already, futures trading in mustard oil on NCDEX platform has been suspended from October 8, it said.
Edible oil prices in the domestic retail markets have shot up sharply by up to 46.15 percent in the last one year due to global factors and local tight supply situation, as per government data.
“The centre’s decision will soften the prices of edible oils in the domestic market, thereby bringing great relief to consumers across the country,” the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
As per the order issued to all states, state governments and union territories will decide the stock limit to be imposed on edible oils and oilseeds after taking into account the available stock and consumption pattern of that particular state or UT.
However, certain importers and exporters have been exempted from the stock limit.
The exemption is given to those exporters (being a refiner, miller, extractor, wholesaler or retailer or dealer) who have an Importer-Exporter Code Number issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and are able to demonstrate that the whole or part of his stock are meant for exports and to the extent of the stock meant for export.
The exemption is also given to those importers (being a refiner, miller, extractor, wholesaler or retailer or dealer) who are able to demonstrate that part of his stock in respect of edible oils and edible oilseeds are sourced from imports, the ministry said.
In case, the stocks held by respective legal entities are higher than the prescribed limits then they shall declare the same on the portal (https://evegoils.nic.in/EOSP/login) of Department of Food and Public Distribution and bring it to the prescribed stock limits as decided by the states where it is conducting its business within 30 days of the issue of such notification by the said authorities.
The states have been asked to ensure stock details of edible oils and oilseeds are regularly declared and updated on the central government’s portal, it said.
The Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits and Movement Restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs (Amendment) Order, 2021, has been issued with immediate effect from September 8, it added.
According to the ministry, high prices of edible oils in the international market have a substantial impact on the domestic edible oil prices. However, the government has formulated a multi- pronged strategy to ensure that prices of essential commodities like edible oils remain controlled.
Measures like rationalisation of import duty structure, launching of a web-portal for self-disclosure of stocks held by various stakeholders had already been taken, it said.
As per the data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, average retail prices of soya oil were ruling at Rs 154.95 per kg on October 9, this year, 46.15 percent higher than Rs 106 per kg in the year-ago period.
Similarly, average mustard oil prices rose by 43 percent to Rs 184.43 per kg from Rs 129.19 per kg, while that of vanaspati by 43 percent to Rs 136.74 per kg from Rs 95.5 per kg in the said period.
In case of sunflower, its average retail price risen by 38.48 percent to Rs 170.09 per kg on October 9 this year from Rs 122.82 per kg in the year-ago period, while palm oil prices rose 38 percent to Rs 132.06 per kg from Rs 95.68 per kg in the said period.
India meets more than 60 percent of its edible oil demands through imports.