Ram Vilas Paswan assures that Retail prices of pulses will fall soon !
Food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that wholesale prices of pulses are falling and consumers may also get to benefit soon. He said the government will step in to start procuring pulses from farmers in cases where the prices are being quoted below the minimum support price, beginning with moong.
“Due to the government’s efforts, pulses’ prices are correcting. Some pulses, like moong, are selling below the minimum support price. You will soon see a price correction in retail markets,” said Paswan speaking on the sidelines of industry lobby FICCI’s sixth annual convention on retail, FMCG and e-commerce.
Separately, officials said a meeting on whether to ban futures trading in sugar will take place by the third week of September, after a study being done by market regulator Sebi and the finance ministry is completed. In the case of wheat, they said, the country has ample stocks and no decision has been taken on scrapping import duty.
Paswan said that farmers have started approaching him to get them out of the distress situation. “The government will buy pulses from farmers. We boosted farmers’ morale by increasing MSP. I want to assure farmers that we are there for them,” he said.
As per government data, tur dal is available at Rs 170 a kg, urad at Rs 175 a kg, moong at Rs 130 a kg, gram at Rs 120 a kg and masoor dal at Rs 115 a kg in retail markets.
On Wednesday, an interministerial committee chaired by consumer affairs secretary Hem Pandey directed government agencies Nafed and Food Corporation of India to submit state-wise road map of procurement of new crop of pulses.
To begin with, the agencies have been asked to start procurement of moong in Karnataka immediately at MSP and bonus as the new crop has started to arrive. The agencies have been told to ensure direct payment to the farmers for procurement.
The government is expecting pulses production to be at 20 million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June), much higher than 16.47 million tonnes last year.
Ministry officials said that on the issue of industry demanding cut in import duty on edible oil, they have sent the proposal to the finance ministry that the differential between crude and refined oil be increased to 13% from the current 7.5%.