For procurement of pulses under the price support scheme (PSS) government agencies have spent more than Rs 15,034 crore so far in 2018-19, and this is 43 per cent more than what they spent in the previous year.
As per provisional data provided by the Government, India has so far imported 1.31 million tonnes of pulses this fiscal and exported 0.2 million tonnes. The imports of Pulses last year was 5.61 million tonnes, the Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
Answering a question, the Minister said prices of pulses, barring gram, have been ruling below minimum support price announced by the Government in July. The worst-hit have been arhar and moong, with average wholesale prices in November 21 and 19 per cent lower than MSP, respectively.
The Minister admitted that the Government has been importing heavily in the last three years. In 2015-16, when total pulses production plummeted to 16.35 million tonnes, the imports of pulses stood at 5.8 million tonnes, whereas in 2016-17 and 2017-18, the years of bountiful output, imports were 6.61 million tonnes and 5.61 million tonnes. respectively.
According to the Minister, the Government does not have official data on consumption of pulses in the country for the last four years.