New Delhi: The Centre, which is sitting on a buffer stock of 18 lakh tonnes of pulses, is aiming to dispose of up to 5 lakh tonnes of lentils by March 2018, a senior food ministry official said on Monday.
Last week, the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) gave approval for distributing a part of the pulses buffer stock to central schemes like Midday Meal and other state-run agencies besides state governments.
"The recent CCEA approval will help clear at least 3.5 to 5 lakh tonnes of pulses from the buffer stock by end of this fiscal," the official told PTI.
Already, pulses are being given to some state governments at a subsidised rate for distribution through the ration shops.
The concerned ministries, implementing various schemes, have been asked to provide their pulses requirement.
It is estimated that Midday Meal scheme alone would require about 5 lakh tonnes of pulses annually and about 3 lakh tonnes for Aganwadis, the official said.
In the next fiscal, another 8 lakh tonnes of pulses will be disposed of from the buffer stock, the official said, adding that this would ease burden.
For the first time, the government had last year decided to create a buffer stock of pulses to ensure better prices to farmers and at the same time use the stock to augment local supply in times of price rise. About 20 lakh tonnes of buffer were created through local procurement and imports.