New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s remarks on the rising prices of onions on Wednesday in Lok Sabha drew laughter from others in the house.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said, “I must say, from 2014, I have also been part of some of the group of ministers, which monitored the ups and downs in onion markets. Sometimes when there was surplus of crop we have also facilitated by giving support to those people who want to export it. I have overnight past orders for helping with 5-7 per cent assistance for exporting.”
Attributing shortage to low production, the minister said there are severe structural problems related to onions.
"One is we don't have scientifically advanced methods of storing... So that is one of the things, so we need to have greater scientific storage facility for onions we have started working on it... then also to give better storage capacities within that region particularly around Lasalgaon," she said.
She, however, mentioned, "I belong to a family which does not eat onion and garlic."
The remark drew laughter, with one of the parliamentarians pointing out that "eating too much onion tends to make one irritable".
Rising onion prices have been the cause of much commotion inside the parliament and outside it.
Sitharaman's address in the Lok Sabha came after Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that the government has been skirting the onion issue for several weeks now. "From the economic situation to Jammu and Kashmir and farmer's distress, the government tries to escape questions on issues that it is unable to address. When we tried to raise the issue of onions in the parliament, they prevented us from doing so by creating a ruckus," he said.
Onion is selling at anywhere betweent Rs 100 and Rs 110 in most retail markets across the country.