To curb the spike in prices of tur (arhar) dal, the government has asked states to enforce disclosure of stocks by traders under the relevant provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and update data on available quantity through online monitoring portal of the department of consumer affairs.
The government has also decided to release 3.8 million tonne (MT) of pulses including around 3 MT of gram (chana) in the open market from its buffer stock held with farmers’ cooperative NAFED to cooling prices in the coming festive season.
According to the department of consumer affairs, the retail prices of tur have been rising since the second week of July this year following slow progress in kharif sowing as compared to last year, due to excess rainfalls and waterlogging conditions in parts of major tur growing states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
As per the price monitoring cell of the consumer affairs department, the modal retail prices of tur rose to Rs 111/a kg on Friday from Rs 100/a kg prevailed two months ago.
Officials said that the government is closing monitoring supplies and pulses in the domestic as well as the global market for taking pre-emptive measures for avoiding possibilities of rise in prices in the coming festive season.
According to agriculture ministry data on kharif crops released on Friday, tur has been sown in 4.2 million hectare (MH) so far against 4.7 MH, which was a decline of more than 11%.
“The government’s decision would ensure transparency in the assessing of actual available stocks of tur, which would help improve supply situation in coming festive months,” Nitin Kalantri, managing director, Kalantry Food Products, a Latur, Maharashtra-based processor of tur dal, told FE.
The domestic production of tur dal for 2021-22 crop year (July-June) has been estimated at 4.35 MT against 4.32 MT estimated for 2020-21 crop year.
To meet domestic shortfall in production, India imported 0.82 million tonne (MH) of tur from Myanmar, Mozambique and Malawi in 2021-22 against 0.44 MT in the previous fiscal.
India had signed an MoU with Mozambique for import of 0.2 MT of tur annually for five years when the retail prices of tur skyrocketed to Rs 200 a kg in 2016. This MoU was extended for another five years in September 2021.
Under the bilateral agreement signed last year, India has committed to import 0.25 MT urad and 0.1 MT annually from Myanmar between 2021-22 and 2025-26. In 2021, India entered into a MoU with Malawi for the import of 0.05 MT tur per annum, till 2025.
Imports from all the three least developed countries are exempted from import duties.
Tur had a share of more than 15% in India’s production 27.75 MT of pulses in 2021-22 crop year while chana output had a share of close to 50%. According to estimates, India imports around 15% of annual pulses consumption. Around 2 MT of pulses were imported in 2021-22.