Central Government’s Mandatory Stock Disclosure Advisory on Masur (Lentil)
In a proactive move to combat rising food prices ahead of the festival season, the central government has issued a directive for mandatory stock disclosure of masur (lentil) with immediate effect. This measure aims to ensure transparency and curb hoarding, ultimately benefiting consumers.
Stock Disclosure Directive
The government has mandated that all stakeholders must disclose their masur stock on the stock disclosure portal managed by the department every Friday. Failure to do so will be considered hoarding, leading to appropriate action under the EC Act. The government is closely monitoring developments and will take stringent measures to release stock into the market, ensuring the availability of pulses at reasonable prices during the festival season.
“At a time when lentil import flow increases from Canada and tur imports from African countries, few players are trying to manipulate the market against the interest of the consumers and the nation.” – Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Consumer Affairs
Impact on Domestic Supply
This move is expected to enhance supplies in the domestic market and discourage hoarding of lentils. It comes following the weekly price review meeting of the Department of Food, Consumer Affairs, and Public Distribution, where it was noted that NAFED and NCCF had to suspend the procurement of imported pulses due to exorbitantly high bids, hinting at cartelization.
Government’s Procurement Efforts
The central government is intensifying its efforts to procure lentils from available stocks at or above the minimum support price (MSP) for its buffer. Import duty on masur has already been reduced to zero until 31.03.2024. Stock limits have also been imposed on tur (arhar) and urad until October 31. The department has been advised to diversify lentil procurement for the buffer stock, reducing dependence on imported stocks.
Mission Pulses Program
Despite being the world’s leading producer of pulses, India is yet to achieve self-sufficiency or “atmanirbharta” in pulses. To address this, the Mission Pulses program is being implemented across 644 districts in 28 states and union territories. The central government is incentivizing pulse cultivation through increased MSP, seed distribution, production of certified high-yielding variety seeds, and support for farm tools and plant protection chemicals.
For example, the MSP for masur has risen from Rs 2,950 in 2013 to Rs 5,500 in 2022-23. The primary pulse-growing regions in India include Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, parts of West Bengal, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, coastal and eastern Karnataka, and parts of Maharashtra.
Protecting Farmer and Consumer Interests
Rohit Kumar Singh emphasized the importance of balancing the interests of farmers and consumers. The department is committed to taking stern action against any unscrupulous attempts to harm the interests of Indian consumers and farmers.