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CEA-led panel suggests higher pulse MSP, faster procurement

The report also recommended that the government should procure pulses on a "war footing", create buffer stock of 2 million tonnes, push states to delist pulses from APMC and promote development of GM technologies. It also prescribed subsidies to farmers for growing pulses.

CEA Arvind Subramanian submitted the report titled 'Incentivising Pulses Production Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Related Policies' to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. 

The panel was set up in the wake of a recent surge in retail prices of pulses. "It is the strong view of this report that enhancing domestic productivity and production of pulses rapidly and sustainably is the only reliable way of minimising volatility in pulse market and safeguarding interests of farmers and consumers," it said. Among steps required to be taken immediately, the report further suggested that the government procurement machinery should be in "high gear" to ensure procurement of kharif pulses at this season's already-announced minimum support price (MSP).

"Announce MSP of Rs 40/kg for gram for rabi 2016 and MSP of Rs 60/kg for both urad and tur for kharif 2017 (adjusted for inflation between 2016-17). Minimum support prices for other pulses should be increased by the same per cent as calculated in this report for tur, urad and gram," it said.

For the kharif 2016, the government recently announced the MSP of arhar (tur) at Rs 5,500 a quintal and Rs 5,050 for urad dal. In the case of gram, the MSP for rabi 2015 was Rs 3,500, including a bonus of Rs 75 per quintal. It also said MSP should be increased to Rs 7,000 per quintal in 2018 when short duration kharif tur is ready for commercialisation. "Efforts to be made to give production subsidies to farmers for growing pulses in irrigated areas of about Rs 10-15 per kg to be given via DBT," it added.

The CEA report pitched for encouraging "development of GM technologies" to boost pulse productivity and production. It also said expeditious approval should be given to indigenously developed new varieties of pulses. Furthermore, it suggested elimination of export ban on pulses and stock limits, and "more generally, the use of trade policy to control domestic prices, which induces policy volatility, should be avoided". 

Kharif crop MSP applicable from this month itself, says Centre
With some crops like pulses starting to arrive in mandis a bit early, the government on Friday said minimum support price (MSP) of all kharif crops grown this year will be applicable from September. Normally, harvesting of kharif (summer) crops begins from October. But this year, kharif pulses, especially moong, have started hitting the market in September itself and the government has started its procurement at MSP as mandi prices have gone below the support price. 

"The Centre has decided that MSP for kharif crops grown in 2016 will be applicable from September 1, 2016. The decision has been taken as harvested crops sown in kharif may reach the market even before October," the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement. The decision has been conveyed to agriculture secretaries of all states and Union Territories. 
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