Aiming to maintain the supply of essential food items during the lockdown period, the Centre has approved the procurement of pulses from farmers on minimum support prices.
The Centre has cleared Rs 1,250 crore to procure 1.71 lakh metric ton gram and 0.87 lakh metric ton lentil which are grown during the Rabi season at MSP rates.
In a Twitter message, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said Assam , Bihar , Chhattisgarh , Haryana , Himachal Pradesh , Jharkhand , Kerala , Odisha , Punjab , Rajasthan , Tamilnadu , Uttarakhand and West Bengal have been cleared for the procurement.
These states can start procuring up to 25 percent of the produce immediately without waiting for formal clearance of their proposal by the Centre.
Under normal circumstances, procurement of pulses is done only after the Centre approves the proposal of the state governments.
Once approved, central nodal agencies like NAFED and FCI procure pulses under the Price Support Scheme, while the costs and losses due to procurement are borne by the Centre.
The decision to procure pulses will help farmers sell their produce at MSP rates at a time when normal functioning of agriculture markets has been disrupted due to the lockdown
Last October, MSP for gram and lentil was fixed at Rs 4,875 per quintal and Rs 4,800 per quintal respectively for the 2020-21 Rabi marketing season.