Govt says country will take two to three years to become self-sufficient in production of pulses.
New Delhi: The country is expecting "bumper"crop of pulses this year but the supply will fall short of the demand, the government said today, adding India will take two to three years to become self-sufficient in production.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, while replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha, said as per advance estimates, production of pulses is expected to be 22.14 million tonnes.
He, however, added that the production would fall short of the demand and India would have to import pulses. Singh rejected reports which suggested that prices of pulses in some mandis have fallen below the Mininum Support Price (MSP). In most 'mandis', he said the prices of pulses are above the MSP.
He said several steps, including an e-market platform, are being taken to ensure remunerative pricing. Through a stabilisation fund, efforts are made to keep
the prices steady, the minister said.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh said while the country was importing pulses at high rates, it was not offering the same rates to the farmers. He said if the MSP is increased, the production too would increase.
In response, the Agriculture Minister said in the last two years, the MSP has been increased twice by Rs 500, which was probably the maximum in recent times.
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said it is known that while MSP is declared for 22 items, the government often only buys wheat and rice crop.
He said a decision has been taken to create 20-lakh tonne buffer for pulses.
The government gets the blame from both sides, be it high commodity price or low MSP, Paswan remarked. Some members, including Digvijay, expressed dissatisfaction when Radha Mohan Singh could not say the landing price of pulses. The minister, however, assured him that he would provide the details.