Home >News >India >IT department surveys onion traders in Maharashtra amid worries of hoarding
State-owned trading firm MMTC Ltd. will import the onions so that they are available for distribution between 15 November and 15 December. (REUTERS)
State-owned trading firm MMTC Ltd. will import the onions so that they are available for distribution between 15 November and 15 December. (REUTERS)

IT department surveys onion traders in Maharashtra amid worries of hoarding

  • A more than 200% surge in onion prices had pushed India’s September headline inflation rate to its highest level since July 2018
  • Surveys are currently underway and there would be clarity about the findings by evening, said a tax official, who asked not to be named

NEW DELHI : Income Tax department is conducting survey on several onion traders on Monday at a time when prices of the politically sensitive commodity have soared in the country triggering concerns about the hoarding of the vegetable.

Surveys are currently underway and there would be clarity about the findings by evening, said a tax official, who asked not to be named.

Surveys conducted by the tax department are limited in scope compared to searches and seizure although both actions are referred to as raids in common parlance. The official said the idea is to look into the books of accounts and inventory of the traders. The regulatory gaze on onion traders comes after the ban on onion exports announced in September following a sharp spike in prices to a six-year high of about 45 per kg as prolonged monsoons delayed fresh arrival of the commodity. The government wants to prevent any hoarding of the commodity that is widely used in Indian kitchens.

Surveys, unlike searches are carried out, only on the business premises where books of accounts are kept. The department can normally keep the documents taken during the surveys only for 10 days. Consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said in a Twitter post last week that the country will import 100,000 tons of onions to combat high prices.

A more than 200% surge in onion prices had pushed India’s September headline inflation rate to its highest level since July 2018 after heavy monsoon rains damaged crops and reduced supplies, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

State-owned trading firm MMTC Ltd. will import the onions so that they are available for distribution between 15 November and 15 December, the minister said. State co-operative National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd will supply them in the local market.

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