The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to reimburse Rs 113.4 crore to cooperative major National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED), Project and Equipment Corporation (PEC), State Trading Corporation (STC) and Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC), which had incurred losses on import of pulses during 2006-2011.
The food ministry proposed to reimburse losses as these trading firms were asked by the Cabinet to procure pulses on behalf of the government. “This (reimbursement) will enable PSUs to be financially sound to intensify trading activities to cool down prices of essential commodities”, an official statement said.
During 2006-11, the government had mandated STC, MMTC, PEC and NAFED to import 1.5 million tonne of pulses per annum out of which 50% was to be yellow peas and distribute them in the market at a discount (subsidy) up to 15% depending upon market conditions.
The Centre had launched two schemes to meet the demand-supply gap in pulses during 2006-11. In the first scheme, the government had asked the four trading agencies to import and sell pulses in the open market which is subjected to reimbursement of 15% losses. Another initiative was to distribute imported pulses through ration shops to poor people at a fixed subsidy of Rs 10 per kg.
Meanwhile, in a bid to improve supplies in the domestic market, under the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF), the government had commenced importing pulses after a gap of two years whose prices have seen sharp spike during the last few months.
“In order to ensure retail distribution to the consumers, it was decided to import 5,000 tonne of tur dal and 5,000 tonne of urad dal by MMTC. The first consignment of imported dal would be reaching Mumbai by September 5,” the statement noted.
Centre has taken several measures to increase availability and control the price of essential commodities, especially pulses and onions in the last few months.
The states have been empowered to impose stock limits on pulses while export of all pulses with the exception of kabuli chana, organic pulses and lintels is banned, to the tune of 10,000 tonne.
The country annually imports about 3 – 4 million tonne of pulses annually for meeting the gap between demand and supply. The country’s annual demand of pulses is around 23-24 million tonne.