Concerned by continuous rise in prices of pulses – both at the retail and wholesale markets, the central government adopted multi-pronged strategy to deal with the crisis which includes further imports and distributing ‘chana dal’ at subsidised prices, an official statement said.
“In order to ensure availability of pulses at reasonable prices, the National Consumer Cooperative Federation (NCCF) has been directed to start selling chana dal at Rs 60 per kg through its mobile outlets in Delhi,” said the food ministry statement.
NCCF is already selling ‘tur’ and ‘urad’ through its outlets at Rs 120 per kg, the statement said adding the decisions in this regard was taken in the meeting of Management Committee of Price Stabilisation Fund here.
Chaired by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande, the meeting reviewed the import and procurement of pulses for buffer stock and allocation to the states for further distribution.
“The meeting decided to further tender import of 5,000 million tonnes chana and 2,500 million tonnes ‘masoor’. It also asked the Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) to order import of 2,500 million tonnes of masoor against its already contracted quantity,” the ministry said.
So far, MMTC has contracted import of 46,000 million tonnes of pulses and out of the same, 14,321 million tonnes have been delivered.
In addition, 68,000 million tonnes Rabi pulses and 51,000 million tonnes Kharif pulses have been procured. Procurement of pulses is expected to continue till July, it said.
The meeting also approved allocations of pulses from buffer stock to Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Andaman & Nicobar, the statement said.
“Procurement of pulses by these states will give relief to the consumers in these states,” a source said.
The government decisions on Thursday follow as even after enhanced buffer stocks and actions in some parts against hoarders, there is no sign of respite from the escalating prices of pulses.
At the bulk purchase market in New Delhi and parts of northern India on Thursday, there have been reports of overall rise in prices of urad and chilka dal by about Rs 100 per quintal.
The wholesale price of gram and Kabuli gram also ended higher and advanced on average by Rs 200 per quintal on the backdrop of strong demand from retailers.
The demand for pulses in India is estimated at about 23.5 million tonnes as against an output of about 17.06 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June). Last year’s domestic production stood at 17.15 million tonnes.
India is largest producer of pulses but also largest consumer and hence a very large importer too.