A high level committee of the ministry of consumer affairs at a meeting held in the capital today decided to import an additional 5,000 tonnes of pigeon peas (tur dal) to increase the availability and control prices of pulses.
This is in addition to the import of 10,000 tonnes of tur and urad dals - the most widely consumed pulse varieties - already in the pipeline, an official release said today, adding that the first consignment will reach by 23 September 2015.
The government has put in place a weekly monitoring mechanism to keep a close watch on availability of essential commodities and moderating of prices under the chairmanship of secretary, consumer affairs with representatives from the department of commerce, food, agriculture, revenue among others and also from the cabinet secretariat.
The committee has directed the agencies like MMTC, SFAC and NAFED to get in touch with states and also with SAFAL to supply imported dals through retail outlets.
The centre 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 black-marketing 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 also been banned and there is zero duty on import of pulses.
As regards onions, to increase availability in the domestic market, the minimum export price has been raised initially from $250 per tonne to $425 per tonne and later to $700 per tonne. Stock limits for onions have further been extended for one year till July 2016.
The committee in its first meeting on 8 September 2015 decided to continue supply of onions at Rs30 per kg through 280 fair price shops and at Rs38 per kg at about 300 SAFAL outlets in Delhi, apart from the 120 outlets in DMS booths at Rs35 and through 70 mobile vans in the entire Delhi.
As a result of these measures, prices of onions have come down. As regards pulses, further increase in prices has been arrested and in the coming days with the import of pulses prices are likely to show a declining trend, says the ministry.
The centre has asked 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 tonnes of pulses will arrive soon.