Government imposes stock limits on pulses till October to check price rise

Days after the Centre lowered the import duty on edible oils, it imposed stock holding limits on all pulses save moong, held by wholesalers, retailers, importers and millers till October. Incidentally, the decision has come at a time when prices of most pulses have come off from their peaks and have softened by Rs 5-20 per kg in the retail markets the past one month, as per data from department of consumer affairs. Pulses prices in the domestic markets had soared in the months of March to May due to low domestic stocks, prompting the Centre to allow free imports. However, since then prices have cooled down due to low demand and fear of imports. “There was a sustained increase in the price of pulses in March-April. The need for an urgent policy decision was felt to send the right signal to the market,” the ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, as per today’s order which came into effect immediately, a stock limit of 2000 tonnes has been imposed on wholesalers provided they do not hold more than 200 tonnes of one variety of pulses. On retailers, the stock limit will be 5 tonnes. In case of millers, the stock limit will be the last three months of production or 25 percent of annual installed capacity, whichever is higher. Lastly, for importers, the stock limit will be the same as that of wholesalers for stocks held/imported prior to May 15, 2021. And for pulses imported after May 15, stock limit applicable on wholesalers will apply after 45 days from date of customs clearance, the order said. According to the ministry, if the stocks of entities exceed the prescribed limits, they have to be declared on the online portal of the Department of Consumer Affairs and have to be brought within the prescribed limit within 30 days of the notification of the order. Meanwhile, the Centre also said that it is enhancing the buffer stock limit under Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) to 2.3 million tonnes in FY22.

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