Govt to ramp up pulse buffer stock to 20 lakh tonnes at Rs 18,500 crore
Government on Monday decided to more than double the buffer stock of pulses to 20 lakh tonnes, at an estimated cost of Rs 18,500 crore, to keep prices stable and encourage farmers to grow dal crop.
Assuring that price of essential items will be kept under control, the government warned that it could cap retail prices using its power under the Essential Commodities Act.
The decision to raise the size of buffer stock to 20 lakh tonnes from 8 lakh tonnes was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Monday.
Briefing the media, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government will import 10 lakh tonnes of pulses and procure the remaining from local markets for the buffer stock. “We will sell pulses from the buffer stock in case of price rise in retail markets,” Paswan told reporters.
Paswan said the stock limit on pulses will not be lifted while export ban and zero import duty regime will continue. “We will provide pulses to the poor at cheaper rates. We will not allow prices of essential commodities to rise,” he said, adding that the government is keeping a close eye on rates of pulses, wheat and sugar.
Paswan said the prices of pulses have started declining and would fall further in the next two months.
Asked about funds for creating the buffer stock, Paswan said: “We have created 3 lakh tonnes of buffer stock so far at an average cost of Rs 92 per kg. So, it will be Rs 18,500 crore for the 20 lakh tonnes.”