Cracking a whip against wheat hoarders, Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said that scrapping import duty on wheat would only benefit farmers as it will break the backbone of hoarders.
Talking to Millennium Post, Paswan said, “Our farmers are safe. Nothing will happen to them as the government will buy their all stock at the minimum support price (MSP). It’s the hoarders who are most worried about it.” Defending the decision, the minister said, “It will help in availability of wheat throughout the year at normal cost as whenever there will be a shortage of grains, the government would act fast and import wheat are cheaper price to stabilise the market. When the imported wheat would land in the country, then hoarders would be forced to release their stock at lesser rate.”
Giving details about the buffer stock, the minister said that the government has set a target to create a buffer stock of 20 lakh MT, which will be maintained by procuring 10 lakh MT from farmers and 10 lakh MT from import.
Talking about cashless transactions, Paswan said, “The department has set a target to make all PDS cashless by March 2017 as about 1.77 lakh PDS shops been fitted with point of sale (POS) machines and cashless beneficiaries are making cashless transitions. We are talking to all states to introduce cashless options at their cooperative stores.”
Paswan also expressed hope that new Consumer Protection Bill 2015, would be passed in the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament which aims at imposing harsh penalties on endorsement of misleading advertisement.
“The Centre has made sweeping changes in the Bill as it now provides huge penalties on celebrities endorsing misleading advertisements and ban such offenders for up to three years. In August this year, the Centre had introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha, to repeal the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act,” he said.