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Centre directs states to lift stockholding limit on pulses

Sanjeeb Mukherjee/New Delhi 17 May 17 | 05:10 AM

Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said the Centre had directed state governments to lift stockholding limits on pulses because of adequate supply and drop in prices.


“The stockholding limits on pulses have been lifted with immediate effect, as there is no shortage of pulses in the country and prices, too, have fallen," Paswan said in a series of tweets. He said the move will help producers of pulses.

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The central government had, in September last year, extended the stockholding limits on pulses for a year, as prices showed little signs of a fall. 


The stock limit on pulses was in place on and off prior to 2015. But states were empowered to implement it strictly towards the end of 2015, when dal prices soared to Rs 200 per kilo to check hoarding and contain price rise.


However, with pulses production in 2016-17 reaching an all-time high of over 22 million tonne (mt), prices of most pulses, particularly tur, moong and masoor, have dropped below the minimum support price (MSP), forcing the government to intervene.


“Under the Essential Commodities Act, states have been empowered to impose stockholding limits. The central government withdrew the order, as prices had fallen below MSP at several places," said a senior official. 


He said the notification comes into effect with immediate effect, and now it is up to states to implement the same. 


After the order, several states had prohibited traders and wholesalers from holding pulses stocks beyond a certain limit to ensure adequate supplies in the open market. 


However, following a bumper production, the order had come to haunt traders who resisted purchasing aggressively, as they couldn’t stock.


Welcoming the move, India Pulses and Grain Association Chairman Pravin Dongre said, “The decision of the government to lift stock limits is prudent and timely." Dongre said this will remove the supply bottlenecks and create a level playing field for growers, sellers and consumers alike.


“The risks of under-stocking at a dealer level and over-supply at the grower level have been mitigated by this timely measure," he added.


With a series of steps taken to check price rise and boost local supply in the last two years, the country’s pulses production has improved, and is expected to touch a record 22.40 mt in 2016-17 crop year ending June — up by 37 per cent from the year-ago period.

 

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