Govt orders import of 12,500 tonne pulses
In addition to its several corrective measures to make available pricey lentils among people at reasonable prices, the government on Tuesday ordered import of 12,500 tonnes of pulses for buffer stocks to ensure the availability of commodity.
Of this lot, 10,000 tonnes will be masur and 2,500 tonnes will be urad. So far, over 14,000 tonnes of pulses have already been imported by the government agencies against the total contracted quantity of 38,500 tonnes. In another major decision, the Centre has also directed National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) to sell tur and urad at Rs 120/kg via mobile vans in the national capital. It’s must to mention here that Mother Dairy’s Safal and Kendriya Bhandar are already selling pulses in Delhi at lower prices.
The decision to sell pulses by NCCF was taken at an inter-ministerial review meeting, which was chaired by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande. “...Directed NCCF to start distribution of tur and urad through mobile vans in Delhi at Rs 120/kg,” Pande was quoted in an official statement.
The secretary expressed hope that such steps will also be taken up by other states to make pulses available at reasonable prices. The government also informed that domestic procurement of pulses by central agencies has reached 1.15 lakh tonnes so far, as against a buffer stock target of
1.5 lakh tonnes.
“Procurement of rabi pulses has reached 64,000 tonnes as on June 13. Thus, together with earlier procurement of 51,000 tonnes of Kharif, total domestic procurement of pulses by government agencies has reached to 1,15,000 tonnes,” an official statement said.
The meeting reviewed the prices of essential commodities including pulses and discussed measures to ensure availability of these commodities at reasonable prices. On distribution of pulses, the Centre said only Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana as well as Safal and Kendriya Bhandar in Delhi have lifted allocated pulses from buffer stock.
The remaining states have not placed their demand for pulses from the buffer stock. The meeting also reviewed the enforcement measures being taken by the states to check hoarding of essential commodities and suggested that these should further be strengthened.
It was also attended by senior officials of Department of Food, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Revenue, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, MMTC and NAFED. Notably, the state-run MMTC on Sunday floated tenders to import 5,000 tonnes of pulses.
The gap in demand and supply of pulses has widened in the last two years due to drought. Pulse production is around 17 million tonnes while demand is for 23.6 million tonnes (mt). The country had imported around 5.5 mt of pulses in 2015-16, there is still a shortfall of around 1 mt, putting upward pressure on prices.