Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan reviewed the availability of pulses in the country and urged importers to maintain transparency in the matter, a ministry source said.
“There is a need for the importers of pulses to be more transparent in their operations. There is a need for the government and the traders to work closely,” Paswan said at a meeting in New Delhi with senior officials and importers on Thursday to review supply of pulses.
Officials from various enforcement agencies also attended the meeting, that was held in the backdrop of a drop in the prices of almost all pulses for over a month.
“There was a silent acceptance by the representatives from various associations of pulses trade that the unprecedented price of pulses last year was due to speculation and hoarding,” an official release said.
The availability of pulses by September-end last year and this year is almost equal, taking into account the domestic production and imports.
Paswan said that given the net deficit in the demand-supply of pulses in the country, there is a need for the importers to be more transparent in their operations.
Traders and the government agencies should work closely and know the “realistic gap in the supplies of various pulses”, the minister said while emphasising that this would enable the traders to plan imports in advance.
The representatives from India Pulses and Grains Association assured the government of providing data on imports in advance.
A decision was taken for monthly meetings between the government and traders, the release said.
Paswan told the traders that the government had entered into government-to-government long term contracts with countries like Mozambique to augment supplies.
The minister also explained that the role of the central government in importing pulses is only that of a facilitator, adding that the government move had “opened a window for the private traders to expand their operations in foreign lands with more surety and stability”.
The traders were requested to extend all support for the successful execution of such contracts.
African countries like South Africa and Tanzania have shown interest in entering into G2G contracts, the release said.
The traders, on their part, pointed to the need for exchanging production estimates between the Agriculture Ministry and traders.