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CEA panel for higher MSP, removal of export ban on pulses

The government has taken a lead as far as boosting pulses cultivation in the country is concerned. To provide farmers with better incentives for pulses relative to competing crops, a government-appointed committee under the Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian Friday proposed a hike in minimum support price (MSP) in a report to the Finance Minister.

The panel proposes eliminating stock limits and export ban on pulses. It urges the government to buy monsoon-sown pulses immediately from farmers and keep a tab on weekly reporting of pulse procurement. It also suggests states delist pulses from APMCs.

The report suggests MSP for Tur at Rs 60 per kg in rain-fed areas and Rs 40 per kg for gram for Rabi 2016. For Kharif 2017, it proposes MSP of Rs 60 per kg for Urad and Tur and a production subsidy of Rs 10-15 per kg via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) route.          

Addressing the media on key highlights of the report, Subramanian conceded that pulses had been meted out a step-motherly treatment in the country and that needed to be redeemed.

He noted the UN designating 2016 as the international year of pulses has come at an opportune time for India, which has been facing challenges in the sector over the last few years.

The rate of growth in supply of pulses has been around 3 percent a year and the panel suggests measures to boost supply growth to at least 8 percent a year, said Subramanian who strongly believes depressing prices for farmers affects supply for the next season as farmers move away from the crop.

To ensure the implementation and follow through is smooth the panel also suggests reviewing the Essential Commodities Act and futures trading of agricultural commodities.