The government on Thursday said retail prices of pulses have substantially stabilised in the last five months, with rates of gram, tur, urad and moong either declining or remaining stable compared to the last year, on the back of its various measures to boost imports and check hoarding.
The CPI inflation for pulses has also seen a consistent decline during the last five months, from 10.01 per cent in June 2021 to 5.42 per cent in October 2021, according to an official statement.
The pulses inflation rate was as high as 18.34 per cent in October 2020. Similarly, the WPI inflation for pulses has declined from 11.56 per cent in June 2021 to 5.36 per cent in October 2021.
“The retail prices of pulses have substantially stabilised in the past five months, from June, 2021. As on date, the prices of gram, tur, urad and moong have either declined or remained stable in comparison with last year,” the statement said.
The government said that stability in the retail prices of pulses has been achieved on account of pre-emptive and proactive measures taken by it such as taking import of tur, urad and moong from restricted to Free category’ with effect from May 15, 2021.
The free regime in respect of tur and urad has been extended; the last date for Bill of Lading is December 31, 2021 and for customs clearance, it is January 31, 2022.
“The import policy measures have resulted in substantial increase in import of tur, urad and moong as compared to the corresponding period for the past two years,” the statement said.
During April-November period of 2021-22 fiscal, pulses imports are estimated at 15,11,147 tonnes compared to 13,87,913 tonnes in the same period of 2020-21 and 15,31,534 tonnes in the corresponding period of 2019-20 fiscal.
November figures for 2019-20 and 2020-21 are for the full November whereas for 2021-22 it is up to November 15, 2021, it added.
Import of tur (arhar) rose to 4,27,796 tonnes during April-November of 2021-22 from 1,71,125 tonnes in the year-ago period. Shipments of urad increased to 3,56,178 tonnes from 2,25,548 tonnes, while moong imports increased to 1,36,007 tonnes from 22,051 tonnes during the period under review.
Masur imports fell to 4,59,839 tonnes during April-November of this fiscal from 8,33,315 tonnes in the corresponding period of last year.
The government imposed stock limit on all pulses except moong under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, on July 02, 2021.
“The stock limit order has had a salutary effect in terms of softening of prices, as such, no further extension beyond October 31, 2021 was required. However, as a measure of caution, monitoring of stocks through web portal continues,” the statement said.
Among the major pulses, India’s import dependence on masur is high and domestic availability and prices are vulnerable to the overseas production.
To soften the impact of higher international prices on domestic consumers, the government reduced the basic import duty on masur to zero and AIDC (Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess) to 10 per cent from July 27, 2021.
“As a measure of market intervention, Masur from the buffer has been made available to the States/UTs at discounted price for supplies through retail outlets, in order to ensure availability to consumers at affordable prices. This step has been further augmented with release of Masur stocks in the open market to soften the prices,” the statement said.
Now the protocol for fumigation of pulses at port of arrival has also been streamlined, with penalty charges waived till March 31, 2022, the government said, adding that this would have a further positive impact on cooling retail prices of masur.
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