New Delhi: Some private importers attempted to form cartels and hoard pulses overseas in order to delay their arrival in India and increase domestic prices, Parliament has been informed.
“There have been reports that some private importers did attempt forming cartels and cornering stocks of certain pulses in producer countries with an objective of delaying their arrival in India, thereby increasing its prices,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
“Domestic searches and surveys have been conducted on a number of importers, traders and financiers engaged in pulses trade,” he added. Paswan also informed that a group of officers has been set up for regular monitoring and exchange of information on hoarding, cartelisation etc, to facilitate coordinated action. The minister also placed data of pulses production, demand and imports. Pulses imports increased to 5.55 million tonnes till March 1, this fiscal as against 4.58 million tonnes in the entire 2014-15. Pulses production is estimated at 17.33 million tonnes while demand is pegged at 23.66 million tonnes in 2015-16, according to the data placed by Paswan in the Lok Sabha. “The government has taken a decision to create a buffer stock of 1.5 million tonnes of pulses through both domestic procurement and imports to improve domestic availability and stabilise prices,” Paswan said. The government has imported 5,000 ton of tur dal from Malawi/ Mozambique and allocated it to states for retail sale to consumers to improve availability and moderate prices. As per Agriculture Ministry’s second estimate, pulses production is estimated at 17.33 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), marginally higher than the previous year’s production of 17.15 million tonnes. India is the world’s largest producer of pulses, but domestic demand outstrips production and the shortfall is met from imports. — PTI