As India witnessed an all-time high production of pulses over the last two years, the Union Cabinet has decided to dispense it to states for distribution at a cheaper price through the Public Distribution System and mid-day meal, for which Rs 5,237 crore will be spent.
Under the approved scheme, state governments can pick up 34.88 lakh million ton of Tur, Chana, Masoor, Moong and Urad at a discount of Rs 15 per kg over the wholesale market price, and distribute through mid-day meal, PDS, Integrated Child Development Programmes (ICDP) etc.
“Government will spend Rs. 5,237 crore for implementation of this Scheme,” Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs said in a statement, adding that it will be a one-time dispensation covering 12 months of demand, or complete dispensation of 34.88 lakh million ton stock, “whichever is earlier”.
The government is also expecting good production this Kharif season as well. The decision will also help clear-up warehouses for the upcoming Kharif season commodities procured under Price Support Scheme (PSS). The government made record procurement of 45.43 lakh million ton pulses in Kharif 2017 and Rabi 2018 seasons under the PSS.
The government procured pulses from key growing states Telangana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh among others. After two great years, pulses sowing this year has fallen in comparison. However, with adequate rains in coming months, sowing activities are expected to pick-up.
Under the PSS system, the government procures oil seeds, pulses and cotton at a minimum support price (MSP) and provides remunerative prices to the farmers/growers. It is implemented in consultation with state governments, which also exempts these commodities from several levies such as mandi tax. The central nodal agencies then make logistical arrangements for the procured commodity from its storage to the creation of funds for the PSS operations.