The Centre on Friday imposed stock limit on key pulses with immediate effect. It will be applicable to wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, millers and importers and be valid until September 30. The measure will help “prevent hoarding and unscrupulous speculation” and also improve affordability to the consumers, the government said.

“The Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits and Movement Restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs (Amendment) Order, 2024 has been issued with immediate effect from June 21, 2024,” the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Under the order, stock limits have been prescribed for tur and chana (including kabuli chana) — 200 tonnes for wholesalers, 5 tonnes for retailers including at each retail outlet of big chain. However, it will be maximum 200 tonnes at depot for the big chain retailers. The maximum stock limit is the quantity equivalent of last three months of production or 25 per cent of annual installed capacity, whichever is higher, for the millers.

45 days time

Importers have been asked not to hold imported tur and chana stock beyond 45 days from the date of Customs clearance. The Department of Consumer Affairs has said that all stakeholders need to conform to the stock limit order and shall have to bring down to the prescribed stock limits by July 12, in case the stocks held by them are higher than the prescribed cap.

“The imposition of stock limits on tur and chana is a part of slew of measures taken by the government to crackdown on prices of essential commodities. The Department of Consumer Affairs had been closely monitoring the stock position of pulses through stock disclosure portal,” the official statement said.

The Department had asked the States in first week of April to enforce mandatory stock disclosure by all entities as prescribed. Separate meetings with traders, stockists, dealers, importers, millers and big chain retailers were held to encourage and sensitise them for truthful disclosure of stocks and maintaining the affordability of pulses for the consumers, the statement said.

The government earlier abolished the import duty of 66 per cent on chana in May to augment the domestic availability. The Ministry said, “The duty reduction has facilitated imports and elicited higher sowing of chana in major producing countries.”

Higher Australian crop

As per report, chana production in Australia is estimated to increase from 5 lakh tonnes in 2023-24 to 11 lakh tonnes in 2024-25 which is expected to be available from October onwards, it said. Further, import of current year crop of tur from East African countries are expected to arrive from August onward, it added.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Friday that the Centre is committed to procuring tur, urad and masur at minimum support prices (MSP) in a bid to boost domestic production and reduce imports. The move aims at achieving self-sufficiency in pulse production by 2027.

Chairing a virtual meeting with State agriculture ministers, Chouhan highlighted the launch of the e-Samridhi portal through cooperatives Nafed and NCCF for farmer registration. He urged States to encourage farmers to register on this portal and avail assured procurement.

Chouhan said India has reduced its dependency on pulse imports from 30 per cent to 10 per cent over the last decade, and has claimed that self-sufficiency in moong and chana has been achieved.

New Model Pulses Village scheme will be rolled out from the current kharif season, he said and utilisation of fallow lands after rice harvests for pulse cultivation will be again in the focus.