Recently India witnesses a sharp rise in prices of pulses. This was mainly due to little domestic production as the weather conditions were adverse and the demand of pulses had risen due to increase in population and rise in per capita income of people and also change in their food habits.
Speculations, cartels, black-marketing and hoarding of pulses also caused rise in prices of pulses. This rise resulted in government ding domestic searches and surveys of number of importers, traders and financiers engaged in pulses trade.
The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan in a today said that the Government has advised States and UTs to put in place a mechanism for regular collection of data or information on stocks of pulses being held by dealers for effective implementation of stock limits.
He said that the Government has regularly issued advisories to States and UTs for strict enforcement of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act, 1955 and the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities (PBMMSEC) Act, 1980.
States and UTs have been conducting raids and seized pulses are being disposed, as per the provisions under the EC Act, 1955.
Following steps have been taken by the Government to contain prices of pulses:
- Export of all pulses is banned except kabuli channa and up to 10,000 MTs in organic pulses and lentils.
- Import of pulses are allowed at zero import duty.
- Stock limit on pulses extended till 30th of September this year.
- Government imported 5000 MT of Tur from Malawi and Mozambique and allocated it to States for retail sale to consumers to improve availability and to moderate prices.
- MSP (including bonus) raised for kharif pulses for Tur and Urad and Moong. MSP also raised for Rabi pulses for Gram and Masoor.
- Government has approved creation of buffer stock of 1.5 lakh MT of pulses for effective market intervention.
- Government has decided to immediately release 10,000 MT of pulses from the buffer stock (consisting of 8,000 MT of Tur and 2,000 MT of Urad) to States/UTs at subsidised rates for retailing by them at not more than Rs 120/- per kg to improve availability and stabilise prices.
- Regulatory measures by Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Chana contracts including increase in the margin requirement to discourage speculation and to moderate the price volatility in forward market and close monitoring by SEBI.
- Strict vigilance by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to prevent importers from misusing the facilities of Customs Bonded Warehouse facility.
- Setting up of a Group of Officers for regular monitoring and exchange of information on hoarding, cartelisation etc.