July 20, 2021 2:57:16 am
Days after it imposed stockholding limits for pulses, a measure that had seen protests, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Monday relaxed the norms for wholesalers and millers while exempting importers altogether. It said this was being done in view of “the softening of prices and the feedback received from state governments and various stakeholders”.
“For wholesalers, the stock limit will be 500 MT (provided no variety is more than 200 MT); for retailers, the stock limit will be 5 MT; and for millers, stock limits will be the last 6 months’ production or 50% of annual installed capacity, whichever is higher,” the Ministry said in a statement, adding that the revised stock limits shall be applicable to tur, urad, gram and masoor.
The relaxation followed a meeting of Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal with all the stakeholders, including importers, millers etc, on July 17, where he took stock of issues connected with imposition of stock limits on pulses.
The ministry statement noted that prices of tur, urad, moong and gram had started showing a declining trend.
“Wholesale prices of all the pulses (except masoor) have fallen by 3-4 % in the last two months and retail prices over the same period for all the pulses (except masoor) have fallen by 2-4%,” the statement said.
It also said that all its steps from mid-May, including the imposition of stock limits for augmenting supplies in the first week of July, “have consistently been aimed at cooling the retail prices of pulses”.
As per the new rules, all the wholesalers, retailers etc would have to declare the stocks with them on the web portal of the Department of Consumer Affairs. “And in case the stocks held by them are higher than the prescribed limits, then they shall bring it to the prescribed stock limits within 30 days of issue of this notification,” the statement said.
On July 2, the Ministry had issued the Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits and Movement Restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs (Amendment) Order, 2021, to prescribe stock limits for all pulses except moong, until October 31, for all states and Union territories.
The Indian Express had written how limiting of stocks of pulses was totally at variance with the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, one of the three laws whose repeal has been sought by farmer organisations but which faces the least protest.
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