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Mukherjee says, Onion prices will moderate soon
January, 05th 2011

Even as the onion prices continued to surge in key markets, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee assured that there would be moderation in its prices shortly.

We have already reduced import duty on onions to zero level. I do hope some moderation and improvement will take place soon, said Mukherjee on the sidelines of a meeting held by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on Tuesday.

Onion prices that dipped in national capital during last few days have begun to surge again and reached Rs 70 per kg level. The government had allowed free import on onions without duty as against earlier levy of 5 per cent.

The governments earlier move to direct its three trading companies including MMTC and STC to onions import also did not yield results. Last month, directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) had banned export onions till further orders.

The agencies had since then imported 1,000 tonnes of onions from Pakistan that will be offloaded in retail markets across the country by state governments.

The government is also betting big on fresh onion crop from Maharashtra and Gujarat that is expected to hit the market by January 15.

Retail prices of onions had surged to Rs70-85/kg on December 20-21 in major cities across the country due to crop damage in Maharashtra caused by abnormal rainfall.

Earlier, Mukherjee cautioned accounting professionals against window dressing of corporate balance sheets. He called strict adherence to disclosure guidelines.

Accountants have a critical role in guarding against window dressing of balance sheets that encourage entities to take more and more risk until they are dangerously leveraged, he said.

Insisting on more transparency in financial sector to avoid frauds, Mukherjee said, We must encourage stronger disclosure standards for systemically important financial institutions as well as complex and sophisticated financial products.

Emphasising that prudential norms be followed judiciously, Pranab Mukherjee said, apparent risk taken should not encourage everyone to take more risks and thereby increase risk for the entire system or at the global level.

On scams still happening despite laws requiring business entities to keep money trail transparent, Mukherjee said, The governments and regulators can lay rules and frameworks, but cannot mandate integrity and ethical conduct.

On Direct Taxes Code (DTC), the minister said, it would make the tax legislation progressive in line with global norms and best practices. According to him, the new code was more simplified without room for ambiguity and ensures more transparency in the system.

 
 
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