'Price of pulses to ease on harvest, action against hoarders'

“Most of the countries from where we used to import pulses have also recorded low production,” said Finance Minister

Source: PTI

As high prices of pulses continue to hurt consumers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the rates will come down soon in view of good harvest and action taken against hoarders. With government under attack from opposition parties on the issue, Jaitley said that retail inflation has come down to about 4% from 12% since the Congress went out of power last year. He suggested that the prices of pulse grew also because proper action was not taken by states against the hoarders. “The rate of inflation has come down in last one and half year. Prices of many commodities have come down. But there are some products, whose arrival is less in the Indian market as well as foreign markets. The requirement of pulses is 22 million tonne in India. We increased the production up to 17 million tonne but still we are short of 5 million tonne production,” Jaitley said at an event in New Delhi. “Most of the countries from where we used to import pulses have also recorded low production. Some traders took benefit from it and hoarded the commodity. It was the state governments' responsibility to take action and carry out raids,” he said. With intervention of the Centre and states in last few days, a large number of raids have been carried out against the hoarders prices of pulse have come down somewhat, he said. He added that as a result of the raids both kinds of the pulses – arhar or tur dal have come out in the market. “Pulses from the Rabi crop have also started coming. There is also arrival of pulses in international market,” he said expressing hope that the yield of the next harvest is expected to be better, which will further bring down the prices. He said that in almost all states, the price of pulse has started becoming moderate in last five-seven days and it is being sold at Rs.120 per kg in Safal shops in Delhi. Meanwhile, the government has moved a proposal for procurement and creating buffer stock of lentils, Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan said on Tuesday. The Centre last month announced that it will create a buffer stock of lentils which will be offloaded in the market should prices firm up. Speaking on the sidelines of 42nd foundation day of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board, Balyan said the government would procure pulses to check prices and has already announced to create 40,000 tonne buffer stock of lentils this year. “...a proposal has also been moved that pulses should be completely purchased by us (government). I hope it(proposal) will be approved and therefore in future there will be no crisis of pulses in the country,” Balyan said. The minister also added that there is huge requirement of pulses in the country and its production needs to be raised, therefore government should procure lentils. The agriculture ministry has proposed that in the ongoing Kharif marketing season, which started last month, FCI will procure one lakh tonnes of tur and urad while Nafed and SFAC will buy 40,000 tonnes tur and 10,000 tonnes urad. In the Rabi marketing season starting March next year, Nafed will buy one lakh tonnes of pulses while FCI and SFAC will procure 90,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes of these two lentils respectively. Pulses production fell to 17.20 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year due to poor rains against 19.25 million tonnes in the previous year. The country imported more than 4 million tonnes during the last fiscal and traders expect imports to cross 5 million tonnes this fiscal.  

November 03, 2015 | 5:25pm IST.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Nov 03, 2015 12:00 IST