Moving against hoarders, the Centre Monday reviewed the action taken by states and Union Territories for “disclosure” of pulses stocks by millers, importers, and traders.
The review was done at a meeting in which Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal and the Principal Secretaries of the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs of the states/UTs participated through video conference. The meeting also reviewed the “availability and price situation” of five pulses– Gram, Tur/Arhar, Urad, Moong, and Massor–across the country.
“During the meeting, it was reiterated that [the] Essential Commodities Act (EC Act), 1955 is aimed at ensuring adequate availability of the scheduled essential commodities at fair prices to the common people. Participants in that meeting observed that sudden spurt in prices of pulses may be due to hoarding of pulses by the Stock Holders,” the Department of Consumer Affairs said in a statement.
The meeting comes days after the Centre asked states to direct all stockholders like millers, traders and importers to declare the stock of pulses.
On May 14, the Department of Consumer Affairs had written a letter to all the states and UTs, asking them to “use the power” under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and to direct all the stockholders like millers, traders, importers to declare the stocks of pulses. It had also asked the state governments to verify the disclosures made by the millers, traders and importers.
“States/UTs were also requested to monitor the prices of pulses on [a] weekly basis. An online datasheet was also shared with States/UTs to fill the details of millers, wholesalers, importers etc. and the stocks of pulses held by them,” said the statement.
It further said, “The pulse producing States/UTs were also requested to facilitate procurement as sustained procurement would incentivize farmers to cultivate pulses on a long-term basis.”
“States/ UTs were requested to monitor the prices of all 22 essential Commodities, especially pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and milk and to look for early signs of any unusual price rise so that timely interventions can be made to ensure that these food items are provided at affordable prices to consumers,” the statement said.
The meeting comes at a time when retail prices of at least two pulses– Tur/Arhar and Urad have increased in recent days.
According to the data available on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ portal, the prices of Tur/Arhar Dal in Delhi have increased by 8 per cent to Rs 117 per kg on May 17 from Rs 108 per kg a month ago. The prices of Urad have increased from 115 per kg on April 17 to 120 per kg on May 17, shows the data.