India in talks with Myanmar for import of pulses

India is in talks with Myanmar and some African nations for government-to-government import of pulses to boost domestic supply and check prices, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said today. Already, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with Mozambique for importing pulses on a long term basis and address the domestic gap. "There is a demand-supply gap of about 7.6 million tonnes in pulses. Bilateral talks are going on with Myanmar and other African nations for government-to-government import of pulses to boost domestic supply," Paswan tweeted. The gap is met through imports mostly by private traders. However, the government has designated MMTC to undertake imports since last year. State-owned MMTC has contracted 56,000 tonnes of pulses, of which 21,584 tonnes have arrived, as per the official data. India imported about 5.8 million tonnes of pulses both through public and private agencies. The gap in pulses demand-supply has widened due to fall in domestic production to around 17 million tonnes in the past two crop years affected by consecutive droughts. Yesterday, Paswan in Parliament had said barring pulses, there has not been increase in rates of other essential items. He said the government has taken series of measures to contain prices of pulses, including sale of pulses at a highly subsidised rates, creation of buffer stock up to 20 lakh tonnes and imposition of stock limits on traders among others. Paswan, however, had asserted that the state governments were equally responsible in bringing down the prices of pulses and urged them to take action against hoarders and reduce local taxes/VAT on lentils. The Minister had asked the states to place demand for pulses from buffer stock for retail distribution at subsidised rate of Rs 120/kg to provide relief to comman people.