Government to import 6.5 lakh tonnes of pulses to arrest rise in prices

Seems like there is no end to soaring prices of kitchen essentials in India. When tomato and potato prices already have the consumer groaning, comes news of pulses now selling for Rs 200 per kg. To rein in the skyrocketing prices, the government on Thursday announced that it would now import 6.5 lakh tonnes of pulses. The highest so far.

States have been issued a missive to undertake necessary steps that will ensure that pulses only retail at 120 Rs a kg. The shipping industry is now required to carefully monitor being imported to prevent hoarding. The entire supply chain will be mapped right from shipment to the final delivery point.

Urad dal currently costs Rs 196 per kg, channa is inching closer to the Rs 100 per kg mark. Tur dal continues to be the most expensive of them all with a price tag of Rs 166. Moong and masur come close and are being sold at Rs 125 and Rs 105 per kg, respectively according to latest government data. The cost is even higher is several high-end markets in cities like Mumbai and Delhi.

Outlets owned by government agencies received further stocks to help sell pulses at subsidised rates, i.e., Rs 60 per kg for chana (gram) dal and 120 per kg for urad and tur dal.

“We have requested them (states) to cap the prices. We have told that the Centre will provide more pulses if state governments need,” Pande said.

This decision was the outcome of the meeting arranged for by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday to discuss the soaring prices of some vegetables and food items.

“The government has approved the import of 3 lakh tonnes green lentil, 2 lakh tonnes yellow peas, 1 lakh tonne red lentil and 20,000 tonnes each of arhar and urad,” consumer affairs secretary Hem Pandey said.

The government is looking at leasing land in Mozambique to cultivate pulses. “We can even lease land in Mozambique to grow pulses,” Pandey said.

He said to teams will be sent to visit Myanmar and Mozambique to conclude long-term contracts supply contracts. Mozambique, in particular, is keen on long-term contracts with India.

The government has also requested states to check hoarders. “I have asked all of them to pull up their socks and ensure that no artificial rise in pulses’ prices take place,” Pande told reporters after the meeting.

Pulses production has taken a big hit in India with only 17.06 million tonnes in 2015-16 (July-June) as a result of two years of drought.

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