Pulses, oil via PDS likely

Pulses, oil via PDS likely

The government is planning to distribute pulses and edible oil through the public distribution system (PDS).

The Centre may ask state governments to procure pulses and edible oil locally or import, if required, and distribute it through the PDS network.

Government sources said inter-ministerial consultations were underway on this issue and a note for consideration by the Union Cabinet could be moved soon.

According to the advance estimates for foodgrain production for 2012-13, India has achieved a record produce of 18.45 million tonnes (MT) of pulses. The role of the Centre would be restricted to providing the agreed amount of subsidy for the specific quantity of pulses to be imported as certified by the states.

There is no specific allocation to the states and the maximum quantum of imported pulses for a state would be as per the number of BPL cardholders. The record pulses production augurs well for the country which is dependent on imports to meet the shortfall of around 3-4 mt. Higher supplies will reduce imports and also prices. Higher support price had prompted farmers to grow pulses.

The initiative to supply pulses and edible oil through PDS would also blunt the criticism by the opposition that the food security lacks nutritional component. Some opposition-ruled states provide pulses, edible oils, iodised salt and spices at subsidised prices.

The government has already issued additional 5 million tonnes of foodgrain under the PDS for BPL families and 1 million tonnes for APL families.  Through the PDS, the government distributes 55 million tonnes of wheat and rice annually in addition to sugar and kerosene .

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