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Government may closely monitor pulses import by private traders

New Delhi: Concerned over rising pulses prices, the government is considering to closely monitor imports of lentils by private traders.

At present, pulses are imported under open general licence (OGL) at zero duty. Importers are not bound to declare any information about their shipments.

A group of secretaries from Revenue, Food, Agriculture, Commerce Ministries met today and discussed about the prices and availability of pulses and other essential commodities.

According to sources, the meeting deliberated on lack of real-time information about the quantity of pulses being imported into the country.

In such situation, the secretaries considered the need to put in place a proper mechanism so that importers of essential commodities disclose the contents.

They also felt that Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs should share the data of essential commodities and other food items as and when required by the Consumer Affairs and Agriculture Ministry for the monitoring purposes, sources added.

Pulses prices are ruling as high as Rs 180 per kg in retail markets even as the government has taken several measures to boost supply.

Prices of key lentils, especially tur and urad, have risen unabated in the last few weeks due to fall in production of pulses by 2 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June) in the wake of 14 per cent monsoon deficit.

India’s production was 17.20 million tonnes in 2014-15, while the demand is estimated at 25 million tonnes. The gap is being met through imports.