“I am also surprised that the production of onion, potato and tomato have all increased this year, and there is general consensus that the consumption has not changed much. So in these conditions, I think the reason for price rise is rumours,” Mr Paswan told a news channel.
He however said that production of pulses has declined.
“It has been happening since the last three years that the monsoon has affected the production of pulses,” Mr Paswan said.
The food minister said the government has decided to import lentils from Myanmar and Africa and beef up the buffer stock to check the spike in rates.
His comments against the backdrop of prices of pulses ruling high at up to Rs. 200 per kg, while two key vegetables – tomato and potato – staying costly at up to Rs. 80 and Rs. 35/kg despite multi-pronged efforts by authorities to check the rise.
Production of pulses is estimated to have declined to 17 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) due to drought as against annual domestic demand of 24 million tonnes.
Government has taken several steps to control prices of pulses that include enhancing the buffer stock to 8 lakh tonnes from 1.5 lakh tonnes, increasing imports, barring launch of any fresh future contracts in ‘chana’ and directing enforcement agencies to act against