NEW DELHI: As prices of pulses continue to rule high, government today decided to import further 1 lakh tonnes of chana and masoor dals to boost domestic supply and check price rise.
A decision in this regard was taken in the meeting of an inter-ministerial committee, headed by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande, here.
Senior officials from the ministries of agriculture, food, commerce and finance ministries were present in the meeting. Officials from state-run trading firm MMTC and cooperative major Nafed were also present.
"The government has decided to import further 20,000 tonnes of chana and 80,000 tonnes of masoor to strengthen buffer stock," the Food Ministry said in a statement.
The meeting also discussed about alternate mechanism for the release of pulses from the buffer stock at an appropriate time for effective market intervention if sufficient quantity is not lifted by the states, it said.
It was observed in the meeting that pulses prices were showing a declining trend in recent weeks and rates are expected to fall further in view of good sowing of pulses.
The Centre is importing pulses through MMTC, which has so far contracted about 86,000 tonnes of lentils for the buffer stock purpose. Pulses from the buffer stock are given to states for retail sale at a subsidised rate.
So far, a buffer stock of 1.95 lakh tonnes of pulses has been created through purchase from domestic and global markets, while the target is 2 million tonnes.
The state governments have been requested to expedite lifting of pulses of tur and urad from the buffer stock for distribution at a subsidised rate of not more than Rs 120/kg.
The Centre is giving pulses from the buffer stock to states at lower rates. Tur is given at a rate of Rs 67/kg and urad at 82/kg.
At present, pulses prices are retailing as high as Rs 185 per kg due to shortfall in domestic ouput following two consecutive years of drought.
Pulses output is estimated to be lower at 17.06 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) as against the annual demand of 23.5 million tonnes. The gap is being met through imports.