The government on Tuesday exempted edible oils and oilseeds wholesalers and big chain retailers from stock limit order because of a significant decline in prices.

“The order will come into effect immediately,” the food and consumer affairs ministry said in a statement.

The move would allow wholesalers and big chain retailers to keep various varieties and brands of edible oils, which they cannot hold due to stock control order, it said.

The exemption will also positively affect the oilseed prices as it will boost procurement of the oilseeds, thereby increasing the returns of domestic oilseeds growing farmers, it added.

In a bid to check prices of edible oils and oilseeds, the government had first imposed the stock limits on retailers, wholesalers and bulk consumers on October 8, 2021, under which the stock limit quantity was left to be decided by the states.

Subsequently, the Centre prescribed uniform stock limits extending the order until June 30 this year. This order was further extended till December 31, 2022.

The ministry reviewed the stock limits keeping in view the price situation of major edible oils, which are now witnessing a gradual reversal, and there is a considerable decline in edible oil prices in the international and domestic markets.

“A need was felt for exempting big chain retailers and wholesalers from the stock control order as reports were coming that wholesalers and big chain retail outlets were facing problems in their sale due to the control order as the limits specified for them was very less and replacement of shelf stocks in city limits is not possible on everyday basis,” it said.

According to the ministry, the stock limit for wholesalers and big chain retailers was based on the limits specified in the stock limit imposed in the year 2008, and it was a conscious decision to keep the quantities less. Further, at that time, big chain retailers did not exist or play any major role compared to today.

The stock limit order was imposed in the country due to increasing prices of edible oils both in the international and domestic markets. The high price volatility led to hoarding, profiteering and black marketing at that time.

This timely intervention by the government had led to a significant decline of the skyrocketing prices and had helped to keep a check on the hoarding, especially soyabean seeds, it added.

India has a deficit of edible oils by 55-60 per cent of total consumption. About 13.35 million tonnes of edible oil was imported in the 2020-21 financial year.