Govt constitutes high level panel to look into volatility in pulses prices

The Central government has decided to constitute a high-level committee to look into volatility in pulses prices, Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan said on Tuesday.

It has also decided to keep the prices of rice, wheat and other coarse cereals distributed through the Public Distribution System (PDS) under the National Food Security Act unchanged for one more year, he said.

"Daam badhe to dikkat, ghate to dikkat (it's a problem when prices of pulses go up and it creates a problem when it goes down)! Do you remember how much backlash we had to face during Bihar Assembly elections?," asked Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister for Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs.

"After that, we created a buffer stock of 2 million tonnes. It curbed middlemen and prices started to come down. This year has been a bumper year in terms of production of pulses. The prices have come down. We have constituted a high-level committee to look into the matter," he added.

The government has, keeping in mind the general election scheduled in 2019, decided to keep the prices of rice, wheat and other coarse cereals in unchanged for a year more.

"According to provisions of Food Security Act, 2013, the prices of cereals are revised in every three years. However, it has not been touched upon in last five years. The PM had asked to not to increase the price for one more year," said the minister.

The Act promises coarse cereals at Re 1 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg to more than 810 million beneficiaries in the country.


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