New Delhi : The retail prices of pulses have substantially stabilized 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 withlast year.
The CPI inflation for pulses have also seen a consistent decline during the last five months, from 10.01% in June, 2021 to 5.42% in October, 2021.The pulses inflation rate was as high as 18.34% in October, 2020. Similarly, the WPI inflation for pulses has declined from 11.56% in June, 2021 to 5.36% in October, 2021.
Stability in the retail prices of pulses has been achieved on account of pre-emptive and proactive measures taken by the government such as taking import of Tur, Urad and Moongfrom restricted to ‘Free category’ w.e.f May 15, 2021 in order to ensure smooth and seamless imports. The Free regime in respect of Tur and Uradhas been extended; the last date for Bill of Lading is December 31, 2021 and for Customs clearance, it is January 31, 2022. This policy measure has been supported with facilitation measures and close monitoring of its implementation by the concerned Departments/organisations. 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 (see Table-1 below).
Table 1: Import of Pulses
|Apr – Nov*||Apr – Nov*||Apr – Nov*|
* November figures for 2019-20 and 2020-21 are for the full November whereas for 2021-22 it is upto November 15, 2021.
In order to control price escalation on account of hoarding and resultant artificial scarcity of pulses, 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.
Among the major pulses, India’s import dependence on Masur is high and domestic availability and prices are vulnerable to the overseas production. In order 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% from July27, 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. Now the protocol for fumigation of pulses at port of arrival has also been streamlined, with penalty charges waived till March 31, 2022. This would have a further positive impact on cooling retail prices of masur.