Survey Reveals Over One in Three Urban Households Paying 20% or More for Rice This Year.
New Delhi: A recent survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, has unveiled the economic strain on urban Indians as rice prices surge this year compared to the previous year. With over 22,000 responses from citizens across 315 districts, the survey disclosed that over one in three urban households have experienced a 20% or higher increase in rice prices. Notably, the top three rice varieties consumed by urban Indians are Sona Masuri, Basmati, and Ponni rice.
The survey attributed the escalation in rice prices to the surge in basmati rice exports, particularly to the Middle East and Europe. Contracts for the export of approximately 500,000 metric tons of new basmati rice were signed in October, leading to a notable spike in retail prices for this premium variety. The government had earlier reduced the minimum export price of basmati rice from USD 1,200 per ton to USD 950 per ton in September, aiming to stimulate exports amid the pandemic.
Despite a ban on the export of non-basmati white rice in July, intended to stabilize domestic prices, the survey highlighted a 10-15% increase in the prices of various rice varieties over the past two months. This situation has posed a challenge for urban Indians already grappling with the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis.
The survey called for government intervention to regulate rice prices and ensure meeting domestic demand before exporting surplus. It emphasized the need for consumers to explore alternative carbohydrate sources like millets, wheat, oats, etc., to reduce dependence on rice.