Import of pulses: Faced with the highest surge in food prices in the past 2 years, the NDA govt. did some brain-exercise on Wednesday to devise steps to counter prices, especially of pulses by import of pluses.
At a review meeting convened by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here, it was decided to boost supply-division by increasing buffer stocks and imports.
The Centre may look to Myanmar and Africa to import lentils and pulses, it is estimated now. India has already proposed a draft agreement for import of tur from Myanmar via the government route.
Many African nations have also shown interest in supplying lentils to India region.
“The Finance Minister said imports via public and private agencies should be forced to meet the deficit,” Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan explained newspersons after the meeting. He added that the demand-supply large gap of about 7.6 million tonnes of pulses was being met by imports and local procurement to create a buffer stock of 1.5 lakh tonnes this yr.
It is not only the fired uplift in prices of pulses, which have soaked to as much as ₹170/kg, that has hurt the aam aadmi; even vegetable prices have started up in recent weeks.
Tomato prices in major retail markets have twice affected to Rs. 80-100/kg in the last 15 days due to sluggish supply owing to crop major damage. Potato prices have also been on the rise platform.
“If prices rise despite this measure, the Centre is not at all responsible. In a federal structure, States have equal and clear responsibility in controlling prices,” he said, adding that the Centre had created a buffer stock, but “not many States had shown interest in these areas.”
Against this year’s procurement target of 1.5 lakh tonnes of pulses for buffer stocks, 1.15 lakh tonnes has been purchased, he added.
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