Retail prices of pulses on declining trend: Food Secretary


Retail prices of pulses are showing a declining trend after the government’s interventions, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Monday.

The recent imposition of stock limits on wholesalers, retailers, millers and importers of pulses will further have a cooling effect on retail prices, he added.

“Barring masoor dal, prices of all other pulses have declined continuously in the last 4-5 weeks both in retail and wholesale markets,” Pandey said in a virtual press briefing.

Traditionally, masoor is grown less here and imported.

The import of masoor has increased and the government hopes there will be a cooling effect on masoor prices also, he said.

For instance in Delhi, retail prices of pulses have declined up to Rs 7/kg in one month.

At present, retail prices of gram are ruling at Rs 73/kg in the national capital, masoor dal at Rs 87/kg, moong at Rs 100/kg, tur dal at Rs 110/kg and urad at Rs 114/kg in the said period, as per the government data.

Highlighting steps taken by the central government to check prices of dals, the Secretary said import policy was tweaked by shifting tur, urad and moong from restricted to free category till October this year.

Recently, the government had imposed stock limits on all pulses except moong until October in order to prevent hoarding.

“Imposition of stock limits and information disclosure of stock from traders will further bring down prices in the coming weeks,” the Secretary said.

Asked if the government plans distribution of edible oil and pulses via ration shops, the Secretary said the Centre distributes only rice and wheat as per the provisions of National Food Security Act.

However, some states are distributing items like edible oil and pulses. Meanwhile, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has expressed shock over the stock limits imposed on the stakeholders and sought immediate withdrawal of the order.

IPGA Vice Chairman Bimal Kothari, in a separate statement, said retail prices have been traditionally higher than wholesale prices.

A study conducted by IPGA in June showed that the gap between wholesale and retail prices was fairly large, he said.

“IPGA believes that the government is targeting the wrong sector. They are focusing on the traders, whereas they actually need to conduct an in-depth scrutiny and monitoring of the gap between the wholesale and the retail prices,” Kothari said.

He also observed that each time a surge in prices is reported, wholesale traders end up bearing the brunt of inflation whereas retailers be it online or offline, organized or unorganized, are seldom under the spotlight.

On an average, India requires 35 million tonne of pulses per year and a likely shortage is expected this year.