A worker packs onion bags at a wholesale vegetable market in ChandigarhReuters

In a measure to control rising prices, the Union government has asked State governments to take stringent action against hoarders in the country.

"There is no shortage of onion and potato. The production of onions has been higher this year as compared with the previous year. We have to improve the supply system," Deccan Herald quoted Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

Keeping in mind the increasing prices of onions, the Centre has imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of $300 per MT on the export of onions, which is expected to have a positive impact on the availability of onions in the domestic market.

The Union government is also expected to supply staple food grains to the states through the Food Corporation of India (FCI), claiming that there are enough stocks of food grains and other essential commodities in the country.

The centre is expecting a clear picture of the country-wide food prices from the states' feedback on Friday, 4 July, when it convenes a meeting of State Food Ministers in New Delhi to discuss measures to check unreasonable increase in prices of some food items. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will preside over the meeting.

Singh and the Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will also attend the meeting.

The Centre has taken a serious note of the recent hike in food prices and has decided to take strong measures jointly with State governments to control the price rise. Prior to Friday's meeting with State food ministers, the Consumer Affairs Secretary K Desiraju has asked all chief secretaries of states to immediately remove all blockades in the supply chain, especially hoarders.

In a letter, Desiraju has asked the States' chief secretaries to inform on the steps they have taken to ensure adequate availability of onions. He has made it clear to the states that there should not be any speculation over further price rice.

Singh on Tuesday warned that in some pockets of western India, there could be a drought-like situation.

Jaitley will review the measures taken by the states to control food prices at Friday's meeting. He had recently convened a high-level meeting in Delhi and taken stock of inflation and price rise of essential commodities.