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Bitten last year, Government gets proactive on Pulses and Sugar

Govt is building a 20 lakh tonnes of buffer stock of pulses through imports and domestic procurement

Nirmesh Singh

New Delhi | 14 April 2017

unnamedIn a press conference today, Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution informed that the government has procured around 18.10 lakh tonnes of pulses including 4 lakh tonnes of imports towards building the buffer stock of pulses of up to 20 lakh tonnes.  The buffer stock has been created to avoid the situation of high prices of pulses like last year when it crossed Rs 200 per kg mark.

He said, “We have disposed 96,000 tonnes of pulses from buffer stock so far. About 17 lakh tonnes pulses are still with us”.

The minister said the government had planned to buy 10 lakh tonnes of pulses from overseas and rest from domestic market. However, owing to record production of pulses 14.10 lakh tonnes was procured from domestic market only and only 4 lakh tonnes was imported.  He also said that date of procurement of pulses has been extended to 22nd April 2017. Paswan added that all procuring government agencies would buy the pulses on MSP rate direct from the farmers and not from middlemen or traders.

On the sugar front, minister assured that there was no shortage of sugar.  He said, “We had an opening stock of 77 lakh tonnes of sugar on 1st Oct 2016. Even as per production estimate of ISMA, which keeps changing its estimates and figures, the sugar production will still be 203 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 taking the total availability to 280 lakh tonnes”.

Sugar year runs from October to September. The domestic demand of sugar consumption is 240-250 lakh tonnes.  Shri Paswan told that in order to ensure supply and maintain domestic prices at reasonable levels, Government has decided to allow import of a restricted quantity of only 5lakh tonnes of raw sugar at zero duty through open general license. Government also extended the time line for availing TRQ benefit (duty free) of 5 lakh tonnes of raw sugar import from 12th June to 30th June, 2017.