The Centre on Monday eased stock holding limits on pulses, imposed on July 2, after traders protested last Friday staying away from the buying-selling activities in mandis across the country demanding withdrawal of the order.
“Considering the softening of the prices and feedback received from state governments and various stakeholders, the Centre has relaxed stock limits for millers and wholesalers and exempted importers from the same. These entities shall, however, continue to declare stocks on the web portal of the department of consumer affairs,” an official statement said.
For wholesalers, the stock limit will no“Considering the softening of the prices and feedback received from state governments and various stakeholders, the Centre has relaxed stock limits for millers and wholesalers and exempted importers from the same. These entities shall, however, continue to declare stocks on the web portal of the department of consumer affairs,” an official statement said.w be 500 tonne, provided there should not be more than 200 tonne of one variety. Earlier it was 200 tonne of all pulses, including not more than 100 tonne in one variety. Similarly, stock limits for millers will be last the 6 months’ production or 50% of annual installed capacity, whichever is higher whereas previously the cap was total production during the last three months or 25% of annual installed capacity. The traders are required to conform to the stock limits from August 1 by disposing of their surplus.
The stock limit was one of the few measures the Centre took since May to rein in the prices of pulses, particularly in retail markets after a spurt in rates from March-April. Wholesale prices of all the pulses (except masur) have fallen by 3-4% in the last two months and retail prices dropped by 2-4%, the government said. The all-India average retail price of chana, tur and masur dal was Rs 75, Rs 106 and Rs 87 a kg, respectively on July 19, consumer affairs ministry data show. The retail prices of urad and moong are Rs 107 and Rs 103 a kg, respectively.
This relaxation for millers will have a down-streaming effect in terms of giving assurance to farmers at this critical juncture of kharif sowing of tur and urad, the consumer affairs ministry said. The kharif pulses will start arriving in mandis from October when the harvesting season starts. There is no change in the validity of the order and the stock limit will be in force until October 31, officials said.
The stock limits shall apply only to tur, urad, gram and masur while there is also no change for retailers, who can keep a maximum quantity of 5 tonne at any point in time.
Around 12,000 traders and millers of pulses shut down their businesses on July 16 participating in the countrywide protest against the imposition of stock holding limits as called by Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (BUVM), a traders’ body. There was no demand in the market to dispose of the surplus by the due date, BUVM’s president V P Jain said. Consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting the next day with various stakeholders’ associations, including importers, millers, wholesalers and retailers of pulses, to discuss issues connected with the imposition of stock limits on pulses.
The imposition of stock holding limits on pulses is against the spirit of the amendment made in the Essential Commodities Act. Since the implementation of the amended law, along with other farm laws has been stayed by the Supreme Court, the Centre managed to impose the cap on the stock with old provisions.
The amended law provided that any action on imposing stock limit shall be based on price rise only if there is 50% in non-perishable agricultural foodstuffs (pulses fall under this category). It further defined how to calculate the price rise saying the benchmark 50% will be considered “over the price prevailing immediately preceding 12 months or average retail price of last 5 years, whichever is lower.”