Govt's pulses buffer stock reaches 1.47 million tonnes

Government agencies have so far procured 1.67 million tonnes of pulses against the 2 million tonnes target set for creation of a buffer stock of the costly food item.

While the government has approved creation of buffer up to 2 million tonnes of pulses, ''as of 8 March 2017, around 14.66 lakh tonnes of pulses have been procured or contracted for imports towards building the buffer,'' an official release stated on Tuesday.

The government has contracted imports of 4.06 lakh tonnes of pulses towards building the buffer stock.

The prices of pulses fluctuate daily as well as over season. While approving the bid for imports, Price Stabilization Fund Management Committee (PSFMC), inter alia, compares offer rate with prevailing domestic rate and bids are generally approved for import when the rate offered are lower than prevailing domestic prices of that pulses, the release stated.

Meanwhile, the government has approved engaging a professional Buffer Stock Management Agency (BSMA) for efficient management of the buffer stock, including procurement, storage, maintenance and liquidation of the stock as per government directives from time to time. The agency for designing and managing the bid process has been selected. Contract for appointment is being finalized, minister of state for consumer affairs and public distribution CR Chaudhary informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Tuesday.

As per the report of a working group on `Foodgrains-Balancing Demand and Supply During 12th FYP' of Niti Aayog the projected demand for pulses during 2016-17 is estimated to be around 24.61 million tonnes while the estimated production of pulses is 22.14 million tonnes, thereby implying higher demand than domestic production.