In order to check food inflation, the Government is taking long-term measures to increase pulses production and for creating buffer stock of pulses.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for creation of buffer stock of pulses. The buffer stock will be created in current year itself. It has approved procurement of about 50,000 ton pulses from the kharif crop 2015-16 and one lakh ton out of arrivals of rabi crop of 2015-16. Procurement of pulses will be done at market prices through Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED), Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) and any other agency as may be decided. SFAC will undertake procurement through Farmer Producer Organisations. The procurement in kharif and rabi 2015-16 will be done at market price above Minimum Support Price (MSP) out of the Price Stabilisation Fund.
The CCEA also decided to import pulses, if necessity arises, through a public sector enterprise of Ministry of Commerce. In case the prices fall below MSP, pulses for buffer stock will be procured at MSP under Price Support Scheme of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
The decision to create a buffer stock of pulses to deal with wide fluctuation in prices is an important step for checking food inflation. This will also encourage farmers to take up pulses production on a larger scale and will enable India to help achieve self-sufficiency in pulses in a few years.
Pulses production is dependent on rainfall as pulses are mostly grown in rainfed areas. Pulses witness huge fluctuations in prices depending upon rainfall. It is necessary to create a buffer stock of pulses to reduce price fluctuations. This will also help in providing remunerative prices to farmers in times of excess production.
The Ministry of Agriculture has identified gaps in the present strategy to increase production of pulses and has identified lack of availability of new varieties of seeds as an important hindrance in increasing productivity of pulses. In addition, more focus has to be given on Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management and Farm Mechanisation. Steps will be taken to expand the scope of National Food Security Mission (NFSM) from 2016-17 so that additional interventions for increasing production of pulses may be initiated.
The following steps have been taken to promote cultivation of pulses in rabi 2015-16 and summer 2016-17 such as:
Allocation of additional Rs.440 crore for rabi and summer pulses;
Inclusion of cluster demonstrations in rice fallows for pulses cultivation in rabi season from 2015-16 under BGREI (Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India) scheme in order to increase production of pulses in Eastern India in states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Eastern U.P. and West Bengal;
A special programme for demonstration of new varieties of pulses through Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) has been taken up from Rabi 2015-16 in order to increase availability of seeds of new varieties of pulses and promote adoption of new varieties;
Substantial increase in the MSP for gram from Rs.3175 to Rs.3425 and for lentil (Masur) from Rs.3075 to Rs.3325 for the rabi marketing season 2016-17.