MPs hit out at Centre's 'flawed' pulses policies

MPs hit out at Centre's 'flawed' pulses policies

Parliamentarians, including those from the BJP, have criticised the Modi government’s “flawed policies” to tackle high prices of pulses as they feel they have not benefited farmers.

The Centre’s decision to import arhar and urad variety of pulses at “exorbitant” prices came under attack at a Consultative Committee meeting of the Consumer Affairs Ministry chaired by Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

A common refrain of parliamentarians was that the Centre should consider buying pulses from farmers at prices a fraction less than the rate at which it imports the commodity.

Ramesh Kaushik, a BJP member of the Lok Sabha from Haryana, is learnt to have suggested that the government should pay farmers Rs 20 less than the import price and even this amount would be substantially more than the minimum support price for pulses.

The government had imported arhar at Rs 80 per kg mainly from African countries when prices in domestic markets shot up due to crop failure in August-September.

Then, Arhar was retailing at Rs 200 per kg while the current average price of the kitchen staple is Rs 160 per kg.

Parliamentarians, including Bhupinder Singh (BJD) and Balvinder Singh Bhunder (Akali Dal) wanted the government to make available an assured market for pulses to encourage more and more farmers take up cultivation.

Paswan assured the members that he would consult his ministerial colleagues on the suggestions made by them. 

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