Stating that pulses supply remain a "challenge", Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday said the government is in import mode and has procured over 15,000 tonnes of pulses so far from farmers to create a buffer stock.
The prices have declined from the peak of Rs 200 per kg in October to Rs 160 at present due to various government measures including unearthing of hoarded stock and offloading that in the retail market.
Fearing rise in dal prices even next year, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday asked the Commerce Ministry to direct trading firms such as MMTC and STC to start importing and boost domestic supply.
The government Friday decided to import 10,000 tonnes of pulses for buffer stock and extend zero import duty on chickpeas and masoor till September 2016 as part of its steps to boost local supply and check prices.
Over 51,000 tonnes of pulses, out of 1.3 lakh tonnes seized during the raids, have been offloaded in the market so far as part of the government's steps to boost domestic availability and control prices.
Concerned over widening gap in demand and supply of pulses leading to exorbitant rise in prices, the Commerce Ministry will hold a meeting Wednesday with importers on their strategy on dealing with the situation in the coming months.
Back-to-back droughts for the first time in nearly 30 years mean some rural areas in the north are running out of water for human consumption and agriculture, prompting warnings of serious consequences if urgent action is not taken.
The prices of lentils are continuing to rule higher up to Rs 190 per kg in most retail markets despite several measures taken by the government including action against hoarders, stock holding limits on traders and importers among others.
As per the Consumer Affairs Ministry's data, retail prices were still ruling high at Rs 200/kg today, while Urad is selling at Rs 190/kg, moong dal at Rs 130/kg, masoor dal at Rs 110/kg and gram at Rs 85/kg.