New Delhi: The high- powered inter-ministerial group headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday decided to set up a committee to relook at the minimum support price and bonus to promote pulse cultivation.
It was also decided to increase the size of the buffer stock of pulses to 20 lakh tonnes from the existing 8 lakh tonnes and to explore avenues for imports from more pulse-growing nations on a government-to-government basis.
“The government has decided to set up a committee under the chief economic advisor to frame a long-term policy on pulses, which will look into various options, including MSP and bonus,” said food minister Ram Vilas Paswan. It will re-examine the MSP and bonus being given to pulse growers at present and frame an appropriate policy to promote cultivation of lentils in India.
“In my sense, production bonus is more fruitful as compared to MSP,” Mr Paswan. He expressed confidence that the pulse prices will start cooling in the next 2-3 months as domestic production is estimated to be higher at 20 million tonnes this year, as against a little over 17 mt in 2015-16.
“According to the agriculture ministrys report, pulse output is expected to go up to 20 million tonnes this year from 17 million tonnes. The gap in supply-demand will come down. Price would ease in the next 2-3 months,” Mr Paswan said.
He said the government has decided to talk to other pulse-growing countries like Canada for long-term import of lentils on a government-to-government basis to address domestic shortage. “We are negotiating with various countries. We are progressing fast on that,” he said.
India has already signed an agreement with African nation Mozambique for import of tur dal up to 2 lakh tonnes in next five years. It is negotiating with Myanmar.