Cabinet lifts ban on export of pulses

New Delhi : Citing the highest-ever production of 22.95 million tonnes of pulses during 2016-17, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Modi on Thursday lifted the ban on export of all types of pulses to enable farmers explore better remunerative prices.

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said this was a reciprocal gesture of the government to the farmers who lived up to the challenge of reducing India’s import dependence on pulses year after year.

Briefing reporters on the Cabinet and CCEA decisions, Ravi Shankar said the government has taken a number of steps to sustain the high pulses production by the farmers, including the highest-ever procurement of 20 lakh tonnes directly from the farmers at the minimum support price (MSP) or market rates, whichever was higher.

The CCEA also constituted a committee headed by the food secretary to review the export and import policy on pulses and consider measures such as quantitative restrictions, prior registration and changes in import duties depending on domestic production and demand, domestic and international prices and international trade volumes.

Opening of export of all types of pulses will help the farmer to dispose of their products at remunerative prices and also encourage them to expand the area of sowing, the minister said.

Export of pulses would provide an alternative market for the surplus production of pulses. Allowing export of pulses will also help the country and its exporters to regain their markets, according to the minister.

The record pulse production of 22.95 million tonnes during 2016-17 was due to production of Chana dal (gram) 9.33 million tonnes, a 33% jump over the previous year’s 7.06 million, Masoor dal (lentil) 3.02 million tonnes, a 22% increase over previous year’s 2.47 million tonnes. The government has fixed a target of 22.90 million tonnes of pulses production during 2017-18.

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