The AIR Spotlight topic on 4th November 2015 is “Judicial Measures Against Rapists”. There is nothing important in the discussion that is useful for the exam. Hence we picked up the topic on 15th October 2015 i.e. “Steps to Control Price Rise of Pulses”.
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The prices of pulses have increased in the recent past surpassing the past records. Last year, the production of pulses was decreased (17.5 million tonnes) when compared with production a year ago (19.5 million tonnes). This shortfall of 2 million tonnes is causing distress.
Why shortfall in pulses production and increase in prices?
On an average the requirement in the country is 22 million tonnes of pulses.
Due to drought in the present year, yield was lower. Hence there is a shortfall and consequently demand supply mismatch
As soon as the IMD forecasted rainfall shortage, the pulses prices shot up within short period of time. This shows that there is hoarding and speculation of pulses.
Pulses are generally grown in non-irrigated and rain fed areas. Hence, there is a lot of uncertainty in production.
Almost 1/4th of pulses requirement is met through imports.
This year, the places from which India imports pulses also had shortfall in production, like in Myanmar, Australia, and Canada etc. Hence import prices increased.
Besides these, there are eternal problems like
Logistics and distribution bottlenecks
Lack of enough storage houses
Railway lines are loaded causing delays in transportation
Govt allows private sector to import pulses freely i.e. zero duty on imports of pulses. It usually doesn’t intervene in the market of pulses. This was the regular practise. But this time, govt imported 5000 tonnes of ‘arhar’ and gave contracts for another 2000 tonnes.
Govt is planning to constitute an expert committee to provide suggestions on how to face the problem in the future. They will have to monitor international production levels, prices, domestic supply and demand, rainfall situation etc.
What steps taken to increase production?
The previous govt has introduced a program called “Pulses Villages” under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
Some 5000-odd villages are adopted and intensive cultivation of pulses was practised with right mixture of bio-fertilizers alongside the training and awareness to farmers.
Govt has also increased the MSP for pulses and gave bonuses over and above MSP.
Hence, net sown area under pulses increased and there by production levels, compared to the past. However, demand also increased in parallel with production.
What yet needs to be done is to bring in technology for improving the yield and provide extension services. There is also threat from pests and wild animals that depend on pulse crops, especially Nilgai.This needs to be taken care.
Pulses are poor man’s diet for nutrient requirements. Hence govt needs to take steps required for increasing the supply of pulses in a mission mode.