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Consumer affairs ministry seeks removal of import bar to check pulses price hike

This year, the government has allowed 400,000 tonnes of tur dal import and the window closes on Friday. The import window for urad and moong closed on October 31. “Like onion, pulses may also see a steep price rise. Delay in allowing imports will ...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 15, 2019, 12.22 PM IST
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Prices of pulses, especially tur dal, have crossed the Rs 100 a kilogram.
New Delhi: The consumer affairs ministry has recommended removal of quantitative restrictions on import of pulses to preempt any price rise because of low production, a senior official said.

This year, the government has allowed 400,000 tonnes of tur dal import and the window closes on Friday. The import window for urad and moong closed on October 31. “Like onion, pulses may also see a steep price rise. Delay in allowing imports will not help,” said the consumer affairs ministry official.

Prices of pulses, especially tur dal, have crossed the Rs 100 a kilogram. As per the food ministry, the availability of pulses is just enough to meet the domestic requirement and any deviation will result in shortage.

“We need more supply through imports to ease pressure. Restrictions on imports make sense when production is ample. But in such a situation, when pulses output is estimated to be low, restrictions will increase prices,” the official said.

The domestic demand for pulses has been pegged at 25.4 million tonnes (MT) for this year. The availability of the commodity in the country is about 25.6 MT, including the buffer stock of 0.8 MT of tur and 1.5 MT of chana.

“Crops of pulses, including tur, are reportedly damaged due to excessive rain in Karnataka and Maharashtra. We will need imports to cool prices,” the official said. Urad is in an alarming position with almost 50% of the crop damaged in the major growing states of Madhya Pradesh in excessive rain.

“India’s pulses imports are expected to jump significantly to meet the deficit. We are waiting for the government to open up imports,” said Zaverchand Bheda, chairman of the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA).

The government is monitoring the price of pulses and has asked the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India and Mother Dairy to sell pulses at Rs 85 a kg in the retail market.

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