New Delhi: Expressing concern over rise in prices of pulses, traders' body CAIT today said the government should impose stock limit on first importers and allow only domestic process houses to import foodgrain and pulses.
In a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, CAIT also blamed the multi-national companies (MNCs) and big retailers for high prices of pulses.
"CAIT has suggested that the price level can be maintained reasonably only when MNCs, FDI and corporate sector (are) kept out from foodgrain and pulses sector. We have suggested to impose stock limit on first importer and a clause of compulsory sale in 15 days of arrival of goods in the country," the traders' body stated.
It further suggested that only domestic process houses be allowed to import foodgrain and pulses.
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) held MNCs and big retailers responsible for high prices, saying the gap in demand and supply of pulses in India is filled by imports controlled by them due to failure of the government to secure imports from its own channels.
In a joint statement, CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal alleged that big companies form a cartel and manage the prices of pulses.
"Whenever there is high increase of prices in foodgrain and pulses, government takes immediate action on small whole-sellers and processing units and no action is taken against hoarding of big retailers, MNCs," CAIT said.
"Another important factor of price escalation is online trading and NCDEX operations where the speculators, by paying a nominal amount, enter into an agreement of future purchase in huge quantity at a higher price which forces an automatic increase in current prices...," it added.
Import of pulses rose by 26 percent to 5.79 million tonnes last fiscal to meet rising domestic demand. India had imported 4.58 MT during 2014-15.
The production of pulses is estimated to have risen to 17.33 MT in 2015-16, as against 17.15 MT in the previous year.
According to data, the gap between demand and supply was 0.8 MT in 2015-16. The demand was estimated at 23.66 MT as against the total availability of 22.86 MT.