In a major step towards enhancing domestic production of pulses, the government has removed the procurement ceilings of 40% for tur, urad, and masur under Price Support Scheme (PSS) operations for 2023-24.

The decision assures the procurement of these pulses from farmers at MSP (Minimum Support Price) without ceilings. The assured procurement of these pulses at remunerative prices will motivate farmers to enhance the sowing area in respect of tur, urad, and masur in the upcoming kharif and rabi sowing seasons to enhance production.

The government on June 2, 2023, imposed stock limits on tur and urad by invoking the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to stop hoarding and unscrupulous speculation and also to improve affordability to the consumers.

The stock limits are applicable to wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, millers, and importers. It has also been made mandatory for these entities to declare the stock position on of the department of consumer affairs.

The stock limits on wholesalers will be 200 MT for each of the pulses; 5 MT on each of the pulse for retailers; 5MT for each of the pulses at each retail outlet and 200 MT at the depot for each of the pulse for big chain retailers; and stock limits will be last 3 months production or 25% of annual installed capacity, whichever is higher, for millers.

In case the stocks held by them are higher than the prescribed limits then, they must bring the same to the prescribed stock limits within 30 days of the issue of the notification, says the ministry.

In a follow-up action to the stock limits imposed on tur and urad, the department of consumer affairs has directed the state governments to ensure strict enforcement of the limits in their respective states. As part of enforcement, the states have also been asked to monitor prices and stocks position by verifying with various warehouse operators.

Parallelly, the department has also asked Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and State Warehousing Corporations (SWCs) to provide the details pertaining to tur and urad held in their warehouses.

As per the ministry, the imposition of stock limits on tur and urad is taken to crack down on the prices of essential commodities. The department of consumer affairs had been closely monitoring the stock position of tur and urad through the stock disclosure portal, which has been reviewed on a weekly basis with the state government.

The ministry data on the production of tur/arhar, urad, moong, and total pulses during the last three years shows total production of 278.1 lakh tonnes in 2022-23, up from 273.02 lakh tonnes in 2021-22 and 254.63 lakh tonnes in 2020-21.

The government procures pulses from the farmers under the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) for the buffer. The stock of pulses is maintained in the PSF buffer to stabilise the volatility in prices, discourage hoarding and unscrupulous speculation, and protect the consumer by making it available at reasonable prices through the calibrated release of stock in the market and supplies to States for welfare schemes.

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