As pulses continued to soar to touch up to Rs 200 per kg, the government has decided to take certain measures to make sure prices don’t soar much higher.
Urad dal was selling at as high as Rs 196 per kg, while chana was also seen moving closer to Rs 100 per kg level. Tur dal continued to rule high at Rs 166 per kg, while moong and masur were being sold at Rs 125 and Rs 105 per kg, respectively, as per the latest government data.
In some high-end markets in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, the prices of pulses were even higher.
Intelligence agencies have been asked to crack down on cartels. Enforcement agencies have also been directed to check cartelisation and hoarding of pulses, he added.
The secretary said that officials concerned have been told to keep a track of the entire supply chain of imported dal from shipment to final delivery point.
— Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called for a high-profile meeting this week, post which, the Food Ministry decided to enhance the buffer stock of pulses from 1.5 lakh tonnes to 8 lakh tonnes to boost supply in a multi-pronged approach.
At the outlets of the government agencies, further stocks were added to sell pulses at subsidised rates, including at Rs Rs 60 per kg for chana (gram) dal and 120 per kg for urad and tur dal.
— Markets regulator Sebi joined hands by banning any fresh futures market position in chana, the only commodity among pulses where such trading was allowed. This will help in keeping a check on any speculative rally. It asked the investors to wind down their existing positions.
— Efforts were also beefed up to sell larger quantities of pulses at highly-subsidised rates through government agencies and outlets, but any favourable results were hardly visible in the retail and wholesale markets.
— Crackdown on artificial rise in pulses: Concerned over rising prices, Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande held a meeting with the officials of Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the Income Tax, the Enforcement Directorate and Intelligence Bureau (IB).
He also interacted with state government officials of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi via video conferencing and asked them to be alert to check hoarders.
“I have asked all of them to pull up their socks and ensure that no artificial rise in pulses’ prices take place,” Pande told reporters after the meeting.
— The states have been told to sell tur and urad from the buffer stock at a subsidised rate of not more than Rs 120/kg and chana Rs 60/kg.
“We have requested them (states) to cap the prices. We have told that the Centre will provide more pulses if state governments need,” Pande said.
Production of pulses is estimated to have declined to 17.06 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) due to two consecutive years of drought.
The buffer stock is being created through domestic procurement as well as through imports in order to address the deficit of 7.6 million tonnes of pulses.