Coronavirus: 13 states get blanket govt approval for pulses procurement

Topics Coronavirus | pulses | Lockdown

These 13 states won’t require any formal approval from the Centre before starting procurement.
The Central government has given a blanket approval to 13 states to immediately start procuring chana (gram) and masoor (lentil), the two big pulses grown during the rabi season. The Centre has also cleared Rs 1,250 crore for purchasing around 258,000 tonnes of both the pulses.

These 13 states won’t require any formal approval from the Centre before starting procurement. The states can start procuring up to 25 per cent of the produce immediately, without waiting for a formal clearance of their proposal from the Centre. The purchases will be made under various central government schemes, including PM-ASHA, of which price support scheme (PSS) is a part.

Government’s estimates peg the total rabi chana production in 2019-20 at 11.28 million tonnes (mt), while masoor output is projected at 1.39 mt, of which the Centre will help states purchase up to 25 per cent.

These 13 states are Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Proposals from Rajasthan and Haryana had earlier been cleared for procurement of chana. The states have also been given permission to purchase mustard from the farmers without waiting for formal clearance from the Centre.

Besides, an official said insurance claims amounting to around Rs 1,008 crore had been released so far during the period of lockdown. A PTI report, quoting an unnamed official from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said it was assessing the lockdown impact on agriculture and allied sectors and taking measures to minimise its effect on the food security.

ICAR is the apex body for coordinating, guiding, and managing research and education in agriculture in the country under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. “ICAR is preparing documents on possible impact on agriculture and allied sectors and measures to minimise the negatives so that the food system remains unaffected,” the official said.

While the government has exempted from the lockdown rules many agricultural operations, the ICAR study will help the government take further action, the official added.

ICAR also said its four institutes — Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics of Bengaluru, Izatnagar-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute, and Hisar-based National Research Centre on Equines — have required facility to do Covid-19 tests.

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