With a rise in domestic arrivals and supplies of imported pulses reaching the markets, the retail prices of pulses should ideally have cooled down. However, the gap between wholesale and retail prices continues to be high. A survey conducted by the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) across multiple formats reveals a huge gap between ex-mill (wholesale) and retail prices of pulses.
Retail prices of pulses including tur/arhar dal and udada dal have now come down in the way they should have, despite the sharp drop in wholesale prices of pulses and an assurance of ample supply in the days to come. The survey points out that in Delhi on August 29, the average retail price (packed) of tur was Rs 205 a kg, urad was Rs 225 a kg and chana was Rs 150 a kg. Similarly in Mumbai, the average retail price of tur was Rs 186 a kg, urad was Rs 237 a kg and chana was Rs 148 a kg. The average ex-mill (wholesale) price in both these cities for tur was Rs 103 a kg; for urad, Rs 128 a kg; and for chana, Rs 95 a kg, says the survey.
IPGA’s Pradeep Kothari pointed out that the difference between wholesale and retail prices exceeds 150% in some retail outlets. “This survey has been done to draw the attention of the government to the huge difference in wholesale and retail prices. There is a margin of 50-150% in retail markets and 3-5% in wholesale trade. Wholesale traders are often blamed for increasing prices. However, this is not true,” he said. There is a huge variation in retail prices from market to market, Kothari said.
“We are glad that there is now an acknowledgement of the fact that wholesale prices of pulses have been coming down over the last months. Why there is no discernible reduction in retail prices is difficult to pin down to any one factor but clearly, government needs to exercise more control over the retail end of the market,” he said. “It is astonishing that the difference between wholesale and retail price exceeds 150% in some retail outlets. However, there is another aspect that needs attention and that is the huge variation in retail prices from market to market. In some places, we see difference of almost 100% between one brand and the other, one store and the other. There is serious need for a public campaign to inform people of the correct price situation so that consumers are not made to pay more out of ignorance,” he pointed out.