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Pulse price rise: Government blames states, sets up panel for higher MSP, bonus

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Pulse price rise

New Delhi, July 11 : The central government on Monday blamed states for continued increase in prices of pulses while Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan assured that there will be a drop in costs in next 2-3 months.

As part of a major decision to bring ease to the consumers, a ministerial team headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday decided to set up a high-level committee to consider a “reasonable increase” in minimum support price (MSP) for pulses and bonus for farmers, in a bid to encourage them to opt for enhanced cultivation of pulses.

The panel headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has been given two weeks time to submit its report.

“Prices will come down in the next 2-3 months. According to the Agriculture Ministry’s report, pulse output is expected to go up to 20 million tonnes this year. This is higher than last year’s production of 17 million tonnes,” Paswan told reporters after the meeting of the ministerial committee.

India is largest producer of pulses but also largest consumer and a very large importer. The country is on average facing a shortage of 7.6 million tonnes of pulses. Domestic output in 2015-16 stood at 17 million tonnes while annual demand is estimated to be 24.6 million tonnes. In crop year 2016-17, the government is expecting increase in production nevertheless.

Blaming the states for their indifference towards procurement, Paswan said: “There is lacklustre attitude of state governments, the image of the central government is being tarnished. I am making repeated appeal to all states to lift pulses from us.”

The issue also figured in the ministerial committee meeting.

At the meeting, Paswan said that the central government can provide “more pulses” to the states – ‘tur’ at Rs 66 per kg and ‘urad’ at Rs 82 – for retail distribution, while the ministerial committee expressed concern over prices of chana dal.

“It was the opinion of the committee that the state governments should take strict action to ensure its availability at reasonable prices as there is good production and arrival of chana,” an official spokesman said.

To address domestic shortage the ministerial committee meeting attended also by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman decided to increase the buffer stocks to 20 lakh tonnes from the existing 8 lakh tonnes.

Paswan said the government has decided to talk to other pulse-growing countries like Canada for long-term import on a government-to-government basis.

Government has so far agreed to import 2 lakh tonnes of pulses each from Mozambique and Myanmar.

The central government has been forced to take urgent steps on the pulse front as despite efforts to increase availability through buffer stocks and imports, the prices of pulses including ‘chana dal’ have been going up.

In Delhi and parts of north India, the retail price, on average, is around Rs 190-Rs 200 per kg.

Faced with demand-supply issues with pulses and oilseeds and to bring down dependence on imports, the government on June 1 sought to exhort farmers to target higher productivity of these commodities and hiked the MSP of kharif (summer) pulses and oilseeds.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) at its meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 1 decided to give a “bonus, over and above the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)” of Rs 425 per quintal for kharif pulses — for arhar (tur), urad and moong dals and for oilseeds.

India

Students join farmers’ protest against farm laws at Singhu, Tikri borders

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Farmers and Students

New Delhi: Students from various universities in Delhi on Decmeber 1 joined the farmers protesting at Singhu and Tikri borders and expressed solidarity with them in their fight against the Centre’s new farm laws.

The protesters part of a student outfit, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), demanded that three farm legislations should be revoked unconditionally and the BJP government at the Centre should apologise to the people for introducing such “anti-people laws”.

“We have launched agitations in different states in solidarity with the on-going movement and to bring to the fore the issues being faced especially by the most exploited section — agricultural workers in the farming sector.

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Cities

After Singhu and Tikri borders, Chilla border closed as well

While the Tikri border, Jharoda Border, Jhatikra Border are closed for any traffic movement, the Badusarai Border is open only for two wheeler traffic.

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Delhi Chilla Border

New Delhi, Dec 1: The Delhi Police on Tuesday closed the Chilla border connecting Delhi to the UP link road towards Noida due to the farmers’ protest.

The Singhu and Tikri borders are already closed by Delhi Traffic police for any vehicular movement which has caused traffic diversions at various points in the national capital region as the farmers agitation entered its sixth day.

The Delhi Traffic Police after closing the Chilla border advised motorists to take alternative routes towards Noida after taking a U-turn from under the Ghazipur, Akshardham flyover and also from Sarai Kale Khan.

While the Tikri border, Jharoda Border, Jhatikra Border are closed for any traffic movement, the Badusarai Border is open only for two wheeler traffic.

“Available Open Borders to Haryana are Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri NH-8,Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera,” said a senior Traffic police officer.

“Singhu Border is still closed from both sides. Please take alternative route.Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba Chowk and GTK road. Traffic is very very heavy. Please avoid outer ring road from Signature Bridge to Rohini and vice versa, GTK road, NH 44 and Singhu border,” the Delhi Traffic Police Twitter handle tweeted.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday headed the government side in the much-awaited talks with over 30 farmer unions on the sixth day of the ongoing farmers’ protest.

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India

Farmers-govt dialogue inconclusive, 4th round of talks on Thursday

‘Bullets or peaceful solution’: Farmers’ union member after discussion with government

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Farmers Union

New Delhi, Dec 1: The government’s proposal to form a committee to study the three contentious farms laws was rejected by farmer unions during the ongoing talks called by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday to resolve the issues raised by agitating farmers.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Roop Singh Sanna told IANS that the government proposed to form a committee to study and discuss issues related to the three farm laws enacted in September during Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The farmers’ leader, while sharing inputs received from its union members attending the farmers-ministers ongoing meeting at Vigyan Bhawan, said the government offered to select four-five members from farmers association to form the committee in which there will be some government members.

He said that all the “union leaders unanimously rejected” the government’s offer.

“Forming a committee is an attempt to postpone the issue. We are not ready to accept government’s offer,” said Sanna.

The government is holding on to its stance of not rolling back the three farm laws which farmers allege are “anti-farm” and “black laws”: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The information comes from the meeting led by Agriculture Minister Tomar and Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, in presence of more than 32 farmer union leaders on the sixth day of the ongoing farmers’ protest. The meeting started at Vigyan Bhawan around 3.30 p.m.

The meeting is also being attended by Union Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal.

The meeting between the government and farmers comes after late Monday night invitation sent by Agriculture Minister to them following their ongoing protest started from November 26.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Delhi borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Currently, these farmers have been protesting at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders.

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