Govt to build pulses buffer stock of 2 million tonnes

The centre has decided to raise buffer stock of pulses to 2 million tonnes from 8 lakh tonnes now, which will be sources through domestic procurement and imports in order to keep the prices stable and encourage farmers to grow more.

Retail prices of pulses that have skyrocketed since last year, have since softened in the last few weeks and are currently in a range of Rs115-170 per kg across major cities. This, however, is still on the higher side for most consumers.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (DDEA) on Monday approved a proposal by the Department of Consumer Affairs for enhancing the buffer stock for pulses to 2 million tones

Of this 1 million tonnes will be imported while the remaining will be procured domestically. The specific variety of pulses and their respective quantities for the buffer stock, their phasing/procurement will be decided based on price and availability position, both domestic and global, and changes, if any, in the procurement plan for the current and subsequent seasons will be with due approvals.

Releases from the stock and procurement in subsequent year would be based on the prevailing pulse scenario as well as buffer stock position. Requisite funds for this operation would be provided to the 'Price Stabilisation Fund' Scheme of the Department.

Domestic procurement operations will be undertaken by the central agencies such as FCI, NAFED and SFAC or any other agency as decided by the committee at the prevailing market prices if the prevailing market prices are above minimum support prices (MSP), and at MSP, if otherwise. In addition, state governments may also be authorised, wherever possible, to undertake the procurement in a manner similar to decentralized procurement of food-grains.

Import of pulses under PSF to meet the buffer stock requirements would be undertaken through G2G contract and/or spot purchase from the global market through designated Public Sector Enterprise of Department of Commerce or any other agency designated by PSFMC.

The allocation/release of the pulses from the buffer stock would be made to states/ UTs and central agencies. Pulses would also be released through strategic open market sale. For managing the buffer, professional pulses buffer management entity may also be engaged. The exercise will ensure a stable price regime for pulses and will also encourage domestic farmers to increase production of pulses, an official release stated.