The hike in MSP of pulses will boost output, besides helping reduce dependence on their imports, said Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Sunday. He said further that the production of pulses is expected to touch the 200-lakh tonne mark this year as against the last year’s 176 lakh tonnes. The minister hoped that the hike of up to Rs 425 per quintal in the minimum support price (MSP) of pulses will bring down the gap between production and supply in a big way. “Increasing support price will also drastically reduce our dependence on imports,” he explained.
Paswan, who also holds the consumers affairs and and public distribution portfolio, was in the city to preside over a meeting of senior officials of the Food Corporation of India (Punjab region). He later told reporters that in the recent past, the government raided stocks of hoarders in view of the rising prices of pulses and found that most of them were importers of pulses.
“Our raids had brought the prices of the pulses down to a large extent,” he stated. Paswan said his ministry had come out with a new policy of storage of foodgrains, including pulses, under which storage will be limited to a maximum one-and-a-half years so that the farmers could easily sell their products. In the earlier system, the crop used to go waste due to long storage and the farmers too felt insecure, he added.
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Meanwhile, barring Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the National Food Security Act has been implemented in rest of the states. According to Paswan, Kerala has given the assurance that it will implement the Act from April 1, 2017.