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Centre Imposes Stock Limits on Pulses to Curb Hoarding and Ensure Affordability

This measure, effective June 21, 2024, mandates specific stock limits for wholesalers, retailers, millers, and importers until September 30, 2024.

Saurabh Shukla
Centre Imposes Stock Limits on Pulses to Curb Hoarding and Ensure Affordability (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Centre Imposes Stock Limits on Pulses to Curb Hoarding and Ensure Affordability (Photo Source: Pixabay)

To curb hoarding and speculative practices, and to improve consumer affordability, the Government of India has introduced a new order setting stock limits on pulses. This directive, part of the Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits and Movement Restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs (Amendment) Order, 2024, comes into immediate effect from June 21, 2024.

Under this order, stock limits have been established for tur (pigeon pea) and chana (chickpea), including kabuli chana, applicable until September 30, 2024, across all States and Union Territories. The limits are as follows:

  • Wholesalers: 200 metric tons (MT) per pulse

  • Retailers: 5 MT per pulse

  • Big chain retailers: 5 MT per retail outlet and 200 MT at depot per pulse

  • Millers: Last 3 months of production or 25% of annual installed capacity, whichever is higher

  • Importers: Not to hold imported stock beyond 45 days from the date of Customs clearance

All relevant entities must declare their stock positions on the Department of Consumer Affairs' portal (https://fcainfoweb.nic.in/psp). Any stock exceeding the prescribed limits must be reduced to comply with the order by July 12, 2024.

This imposition is part of a broader strategy by the government to regulate the prices of essential commodities. The Department of Consumer Affairs has been actively monitoring pulse stocks through the stock disclosure portal. In early April 2024, state governments were instructed to enforce mandatory stock disclosure by all stockholding entities.

This directive was supported by visits to major pulse-producing states and trading hubs from late April to May 10, 2024. Separate meetings with traders, stockists, dealers, importers, millers, and big chain retailers were held to encourage transparent stock disclosures and maintain pulse affordability.

Additionally, on May 4, 2024, government reduced import duty on desi chana by 66% to boost domestic production. This reduction has facilitated imports and is expected to increase chana sowing in major producing countries. Reports indicate that chana production in Australia is projected to rise from 500,000 tons in 2023-24 to 1.1 million tons in 2024-25, with availability expected from October 2024.

The sowing of Kharif pulses such as tur and urad is anticipated to rise significantly this season, driven by high price realization for farmers and above-normal monsoon rains predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Furthermore, imports of the current year's tur crop from East African countries are expected to begin arriving in August 2024.

These measures are projected to help reduce the prices of Kharif pulses like tur and urad in the coming months. The arrival of the new chana crop in Australia and its availability for import from October 2024 will also help maintain affordable chana prices for consumers.

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