Govt buys 1.11 lakh tonne pulses to create buffer stocks
The Centre also asked state governments to seek allocation of pulses from the buffer stock and sell at reasonable prices not exceeding Rs 120 per kg. An inter-ministerial committee meeting, chaired by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande, was held today to review prices of essential commodities.
In the meeting, it was informed that about 13,000 tonnes have already arrived in the country and 6,000 tonnes are in pipeline out of 38,500 tonnes of contracted pulses. The government had in December last decided to create a buffer stock of pulses by procuring 1.5 lakh tonnes of lentils for making market intervention when prices firm up in retail markets. It is also importing pulses to boost domestic supply.
"About 13,000 tonnes imported pulses have reached the country and delivery of about 6,000 tonnes pulses is in pipeline. Arrived quantity includes 11,000 tonnes tur and 2,000 tonnes urad," an official statement said on Tuesday.
"Besides contracted import of 38,500 tonnes pulses, the government agencies have procured 51,000 tonnes Kharif and 60,000 tonnes Rabi pulses so far," it added. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana have been allocated some quantity from buffer stock on request. Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Telangana are reportedly further subsidising the prices for the benefit of consumers, the statement said.
In Delhi, Kendriya Bhandar and Safal have been allocated to sell pulses through their outlets. So far, 635.31 quintals tur and 245 quintals of urad have been sold by these agencies at Rs 120/kg. India is the world's largest producer of pulses, but its domestic demand outstrips production. The shortfall is met from imports. India imported more than 5.5 million tonnes of pulses last fiscal, largely through private traders.
Pulses output is estimated at 17.06 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June). Tur and urad dals are selling at as high as Rs 165 per kg and Rs 185 per kg, respectively, in the retail markets. The committee was informed that the FCI has about 32 million tonnes of wheat in stock against the PDS requirement of about 24 million tonnes.
The government has sanctioned about 6.25 million tonnes of wheat for open market sale operations during this fiscal. Regarding onions, as market intervention efforts, NAFED and SFAC have procured 15,635 tonnes of onions so far.