New Delhi: The Government has asked the MMTC to expedite import of pulses to ease its availability and requested the State Governments to gear up distribution of pulses through retail outlets. MMTC has assured that 10,000 tons of Pulses will arrive soon. Secretary, Consumer Affairs in a video conference recently held with State Governments discussed further arrangements to increase availability of pulses and onions in the domestic market.
Government of India has taken a series of policy initiatives and measures to enhance the availability and thereby moderate prices of pulses and onions. Stock limits have already been imposed on Pulses and State Governments have been requested to take strict action against hoarding and blackmarketing and use available provisions and powers under Essential Commodities Act. Future trading in Pulses like Urad and Tur has already been suspended. Export of Pulses has been banned and there is zero duty on import of Pulses. Pulses have also been included for assistance under Price Stabilization scheme. To increase availability of Pulses in the domestic market, 5,000 tons of Tur and 5,000 tons of Urad have been ordered to be imported and these imports are likely to reach shortly, which will ease the price situation.
As a result of these measures taken by the Government, further increase in the prices of pulses has been arrested and in the coming days with the import prices are likely to show declining trends. To keep a close watch on availability of essential commodities and monitoring of prices an Inter-Ministerial Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Consumer Affairs with representatives from various departments viz. Commerce, Food, Agriculture, Revenue among others and also the Cabinet Secretariat.
In the Committee’s first meeting held on 8th September, 2015, MMTC was asked to get in touch with States and also with SAFAL to supply imported Dal through retail outlets. Apart from several other short term measures, the Committee also decided on medium and long term strategy required to increase the availability of essential commodities. Government decision to increase Minimum Support Price for pulses by Rs.275 per quintal for Urad and Arhar and Rs.250 per quintal for Moong would increase procurement of pulses for distribution through various retail outlets. All the above measures are likely to moderate the prices of pulses.
As regards Onions, to increase availability in the domestic market, Minimum Export Price has been raised initially from US$ 250 per MT to US$ 425 per MT and later to US$700 per MT. Stock limits for Onions have further been extended for one year till July, 2016. About 8,368 tons of Onions have been procured by SFAC and NAFED and are being supplied to consumers at reasonable prices. Onions are also being imported and yesterday Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan directed to import further tranche of 1000 tons of Onions.
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