INDIA FOCUS: Rising Prices of Dal/ Pulses: How to deal with it? ... What's Being Done? ... A COMPREHENSIVE FACT CHECK...

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published Published on Aug 17, 2016   modified Modified on Aug 17, 2016

Rising prices of dal: How to deal with it?

Pulses imageThe 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses. In India, however, ordinary citizens are under enormous duress due to the skyrocketing prices of dal/ lentils since the last one year. The website of Price Monitoring Cell of the Department of Consumer Affairs shows that dal prices varied across places. For example, the retail price of Urad dal stood at Rs. 157 per kg in Delhi but Rs. 170 per kg in Bathinda, as on 28 July 2016. Similarly, the retail price of Arhar (Tur) dal stood at Rs. 147 per kg in Delhi but Rs. 160 per kg in Bathinda, as on 28 July 2016.

However, almost a year back the retail price of Urad dal was Rs. 110 per kg in both Delhi and Bathinda (as on 28 July 2015). The Price Monitoring Cell data also shows that Arhar (Tur) dal was sold in retail shops at Rs. 114 per kg in Delhi but Rs. 110 per kg in Bathinda, as on 28 July 2015.

Based on a dip stick survey done by the Inclusive Media for Change team on 8 August 2016, it was observed that in some pockets (posh localities) of Delhi and Gurgaon, for certain varieties of pulses the prices were higher as compared to the officially recorded ones. For example, it was found that a retail shop located at an upscale colony in Sector-24 Gurgaon was selling Urad dal at Rs. 240 per kg and Arhar (Tur) dal at Rs. 230 per kg on 8 August, 2016. However, the website of Price Monitoring Cell of the Department of Consumer Affairs indicates that on that day the average retail price of Urad dal was 140 per kg and Arhar (Tur) dal was Rs. 135 per kg in Gurgaon. The difference between the two sets of prices could have arisen because of many factors, the chief among them being: location of the retail shops from where information on pulse prices was collected and the quality of pulses sold (such as whether pulses sold were in packets or sold loose).

In other metros like Mumbai or Bangalore too one could observe such difference between the two sets of prices i.e. between the price data collected by official agencies and the one collected by individuals or consumers from various areas.

Among other things, shortage in availability of pulses is considered by economists to be one of the major causes behind skyrocketing prices across the states.

A press release from the Union Cabinet on 5 July 2016 (issued prior to the release of the fourth advance estimates of foodgrain production in 2015-16) says that the total pulses production in the country during 2015-16 was estimated to be 17 million tonnes while 5.79 million tonnes of pulses were imported to meet domestic requirements.

In India, the net availability of pulses is calculated in the following way:

Net availability of pulses = Net production + Net Imports + Change in Government stocks

The Economic Survey 2015-16 shows that the net availability of pulses has increased from 14.2 million tonnes in 2004 to 21.4 million tonnes in 2014, with ups and downs in between. Similarly, the per capita net availability of pulses per day (in grams) has increased from 35.8 gram in 2004 to 47.2 gram in 2014. (Please check chart-1).

Chart 1

Source: Statistical Appendix to the Economic Survey 2015-16

The Economic Survey 2015-16 cautions us that the figures in respect of per capita net availability are not strictly representative of actual level of consumption in the country especially as they do not take into account any change in stocks in possession of traders, producers and consumers. It also says that for calculation of per capita net availability, the figure of net imports from 1981 to 1994 are based on imports and exports on Government of India account only. Net imports from 1995 are, however, based on the total exports and imports (both Government as well as Private accounts).

In order to boost cultivation of pulses and oilseeds, in June this year the Government announced a bonus on these crops, payable over and above the approved Minimum Support Prices (MSP).

In June, the NDA's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs decided to give a bonus, over and above the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), of Rs. 425/- per quintal for kharif pulses, namely Arhar (Tur), Urad and Moong, a bonus of Rs 200/- per quintal for Sesamum and a bonus of Rs 100/- per quintal for other kharif oilseeds namely, Groundnut-in-shell, Sunflower seed, Soyabean, and Nigerseed.

Earlier the Government had declared a bonus, over and above the MSP, of Rs 200 per quintal for kharif pulses of 2015-16 season and a bonus of Rs. 75 per quintal for rabi pulses of 2016-17 marketing season.

In the following sections, apart from discussing the price inflation in pulses that prevailed during the recent months, we have provided the trends in production, yield and acreage of pulses, based on updated facts and figures from official sources. We have also discussed the policies undertaken by the Government with respect to pulses, their production and imports so as to make the country attain the objective of food security. After each section, a reference list has been provided along with urls.

Source:

Cabinet approves import of pulses through long-term contract with Mozambique, Cabinet, Press Information Bureau, 5 July, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=146807

Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for Kharif Crops of 2016-17 season, Press Information Bureau/ Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), 1 June, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=145856

Daily Retail Prices of Essential Commodities, Price Monitoring Cell, Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, http://fcainfoweb.nic.in/pmsver2/reports/report_menu_web.aspx

Statistical Appendix to the Economic Survey 2015-16, please click here to access
 
Economic Survey 2015-16, Volume-1, Ministry of Finance, please click here to access

International Year of Pulses 2016, FAO, please click here to access


Trends in dal prices

Chart 2 WPI & CPI pulses

Source: 1. Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data (Base: 2004-05=100), Office of the Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, various years
 
2. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), various years

• The annual rate of inflation for Consumer Price Index (Base: 2012=100) of pulses on point to point basis follows almost the same trend as the annual rate of inflation for Wholesale Price Index (Base: 2004-05=100) of pulses on point to point basis. It can be noted that for most part of the last one and half years, the rate of inflation in WPI of pulses exceeded that of the CPI of pulses. Please see chart-2.

• The annual rate of inflation on point to point basis peaked during November 2015 for both WPI and CPI of pulses/ dal, shows the chart-2.

• In a news report entitled Are retailers to be blamed for the spike in pulse prices?, which has been written by Sayantan Bera (Livemint dated 10 August 2016), it is mentioned that over the last one year the wedge between retail and wholesale prices has increased. The author of that news report says that retailers are responsible for a rise in prices of dal/ lentils, apart from deficit rains and falling supplies.

• The rate of inflation (provisional) in Consumer Price Index (Base: 2012=100) for pulses and products was 26.86 percent during June 2016 (over June last year). The corresponding rate of inflation figures for vegetables, Consumer Price Index (Combined) and Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) were 14.7 percent, 5.77 percent and 7.79 percent, respectively (as per the data from Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation). Put simply, dal prices grew faster (between June 2016 and June last year) as compared to the overall price levels in the economy. The rate of inflation in pulse prices even exceeded rise in vegetable prices and overall prices of food.

• The rate of inflation (provisional) in Consumer Price Index (Base: 2012=100) for pulses and products was 22.24 percent during June 2015 (over June 2014). The corresponding rate of inflation figures for vegetables, Consumer Price Index (Combined) and Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) were 5.37 percent, 5.4 percent and 5.48 percent, respectively (as per the data from Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation). In other words, dal prices grew faster (between June 2015 and June 2014) as compared to overall price levels in the economy. The inflation in dal prices even exceeded rise in vegetable prices and overall prices of food.

• The prices of various dals varied across regions. For example, for the week ending on 22 July, 2016, the retail price of Moong (Split) varied from Rs. 155 per kg in Malda (West Bengal) to Rs. 75 per kg in Jaipur (Rajasthan), as per the Weekly Bulletin on Retail Prices of Essential Commodities (released by Directorate of Economics & Statistics). Similarly, during the same time period, the retail price of Urad (split) varied between Rs. 210 per kg in Imphal (Manipur) and Rs. 131 per kg in Cuttack (Odisha).

• The rate of inflation in Wholesale Price Index (Base: 2004-05=100) for pulses was 26.6 percent during June 2016 (over June last year). The corresponding rate of inflation figures for vegetables, overall Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and food articles were 16.9 percent, 1.6 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.

• The rate of inflation in Wholesale Price Index (Base: 2004-05=100) for pulses was 36.8 percent during June 2015 (over June 2014). The corresponding rate of inflation figures for vegetables, overall Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and food articles were (-) 6.8 percent, (-) 2.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

• The Economic Survey 2015-16 says that the 29.6 percent rate of inflation in Consumer Price Index (CPI) of pulses and products during April-December 2015-16 happened due to shortfall in production of Tur and Gram (Base year 2012=100). In order to avoid further spikes in prices of pulses, the Government had decided to build a buffer by procuring Tur and Urad and initiated action to ensure timely imports, states the Economic Survey.

• During April-December 2015-16 the rate of inflation in Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) was 4.6 percent (Base year 2012=100).

• The rate of inflation in Wholesale Price Index (WPI) of pulses during April-December 2015-16 stood at 39.5 percent.

• During the same span the rate of inflation in WPI of food articles and foodgrains were 3.0 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.

Source:

Press release: Consumer Price Index numbers on Base 2012=100 for Rural, Urban and Combined for various months, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), please click here to access     

Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data (Base: 2004-05=100), Office of the Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, http://www.eaindustry.nic.in/home.asp

Weekly Bulletin on Retail Prices of Essential Commodities for the week ending on 22 July, 2016, Wholesale and Retail Price Monitoring System, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, http://rpms.dacnet.nic.in/Reports.aspx

Economic Survey 2015-16, Volume-2, Ministry of Finance, please click here to access

Are retailers to be blamed for the spike in pulse prices? -Sayantan Bera, Livemint.com, 10 August, 2016, please click here to access


Production, Yield and Area

Table 1: Production of pulses in various years (in million tonnes)
 
Table pulses
 
Source: Fourth Advance estimate of foodgrain production for agriculture year 2015-16 (released on 2 August, 2016), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers welfare, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture

Third Advance estimate of foodgrain production for agriculture year 2015-16 (released on 9 May, 2016), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers welfare, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture

• The total production of pulses in India was 19.25 million tonnes in 2013-14, which reduced to 17.15 million tonnes (final estimates) in 2014-15. As per the fourth advance estimate of foodgrain production for 2015-16, pulses production is going to be 16.47 million tonnes, which is marginally lower than what was predicted by the third advance estimates (i.e. 17.06 million tonnes). Please check table-1.

• The production of Tur (kharif) has declined from 3.17 million tonnes in 2013-14 to 2.81 million tonnes in 2014-15, and is expected to fall further to 2.46 million tonnes in 2015-16.

• The production of Gram (rabi) has fallen from 9.53 million tonnes in 2013-14 to 7.33 million tonnes in 2014-15, and is likely to decline to 7.17 million tonnes in 2015-16.

• The production of Moong has declined from 1.7 million tonnes in 2003-04 to 1.6 million tonnes in 2015-16.

• Media reports suggest that the acreage under pulses has continued to be high under kharif crops till August 5 this year with total acreage in the period rising to 121.10 lakh hectares from 89.72 lakh hectare in the same period last year.

• According to the Economic Survey 2015-16, the average yield of pulses was 524 kg per hectare in 1970-71, 473 kg per hectare 1980-81, 578 kg per hectare in 1990-91, 544 kg per hectare in 2000-01, 691 kg per hectare in 2010-11, 764 kg per hectare in 2013-14 and 744 kg per hectare in 2014-15.

• The Economic Survey 2015-16 says that the average yield of pulses registered negative growth rate over the period 1980-81 over 1970-71 and 2000-01 over 1990-91.

• According to the Economic Survey 2015-16, the average productivity of Gram declined from 1036 kg per hectare in 2012-13 to 960 kg per hectare in 2013-14 and further to 875 kg per hectare in 2014-15.

• Data from the Economic Survey shows that the average productivity of Tur increased from 776 kg per hectare in 2012-13 to 813 kg per hectare in 2013-14 but fell to 750 kg per hectare in 2014-15.

• The Economic Survey 2015-16 shows that the gross area under pulses increased from 23.3 million hectares in 2012-13 to 25.2 million hectares in 2013-14 but fell to 23.1 million hectares in 2014-15.

• According to the Economic Survey 2015-16, the gross area under Gram went up from 8.5 million hectares in 2012-13 to 9.9 million hectares in 2013-14 but declined to 8.2 million hectares in 2014-15.

• Data from the Economic Survey 2015-16 shows that the gross area under Tur stayed at the level of 3.9 million hectares in both 2012-13 and 2013-14 but declined marginally to 3.7 million hectares in 2014-15.

• During 2014-15, the states of Madhya Pradesh (27.4 percent), Rajasthan (11.3 percent) and Maharashtra (10.1 percent) together contributed 48.8 percent of the entire pulses production of the country, as per the Economic Survey 2015-16.  

• As informed by the Economic Survey 2015-16, a study by the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) has calculated the wastage in various kinds of produce during 2010 and 2015. According to that study, the cumulative wastage for pulses is very high and has increased from 4.3 - 6.1 percent to 6.36 - 8.40 percent between 2010 and 2015.

Source:

Fourth Advance estimate of foodgrain production for agriculture year 2015-16 (released on 2 August, 2016), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers welfare, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, please click here to access 

Third Advance estimate of foodgrain production for agriculture year 2015-16 (released on 9 May, 2016), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers welfare, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, please click here to access

Second Advance estimate of foodgrain production for agriculture year 2015-16 (released on 15 February, 2016), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers welfare, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, please click here to access
 
Advance estimates of foodgrains, oilseeds and other commercial crops (various years), Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, please click here to access
 
2015-16 Annual Report for Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare

Economic Survey 2015-16, Volume-2, Ministry of Finance, please click here to access

Sowing of kharif crops up at 885 lakh hectares, The Hindu Business Line, 5 August, 2016, please click here to access


Steps undertaken by the Government to increase production of pulses
 
Chart 3
 
Source: 1. Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India
2. Commission on Agriculture Costs & Prices (CACP)
3. RBI's database on Indian economy

• It can be observed from chart-3 that the minimum support prices for Arhar (Tur), Moong and Urad rose faster since 2007-08 as compared to the years prior to that.

• To incentivize cultivation of pulses in the country during 2016-17, the Government has announced a bonus of Rs. 425/- per quintal for kharif pulses, namely Arhar (Tur), Urad and Moong, over and above the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

• The MSP for Arhar (Tur) has been raised from Rs. 4625 per quintal (includes Rs. 200/- bonus) in 2015-16 to Rs. 5050 per quintal (includes Rs. 425/- bonus) in 2016-17. Please see chart-3.

• The MSP for Moong has been hiked from Rs. 4850 per quintal (includes Rs. 200/- bonus) in 2015-16 to Rs. 5225 per quintal (includes Rs. 425/- bonus) in 2016-17.

• The MSP for Urad has been increased from Rs. 4625 per quintal (includes Rs. 200/- bonus) in 2015-16 to Rs. 5000 per quintal (includes Rs. 425/- bonus) in 2016-17.

• In an article entitled The arhar challenge, Ashok Gulati & Smriti Verma (The Indian Express, dated 1 August 2016) have argued that although a bonus of Rs 425 per quintal on MSP of kharif pulses — Arhar, Moong and Urad — has been announced to incentivise production, the MSPs are still far below their respective wholesale prices. The authors have suggested for a crop-neutral incentive structure, which is currently tilted heavily in favour of rice and wheat. Given the huge input subsidies on fertilisers, power, water, and agri-credit, which is enjoyed by wheat and rice to the tune of more than Rs 10,000 per hectare, say for example in Punjab, pulses are required to be given similar incentives through bonuses, to a minimum amount of Rs 1,000/quintal. Only a much higher bonus for pulses as compared to what has been recently announced can create a level-playing field for cultivators of all crops, according to Gulati and Verma.

• A panel headed by the Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam has been formed in July 2016 so as to suggest ways to raise domestic production of pulses and to review the minimum support price and bonus given to pulses.

• On 22 July, 2016 the Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat informed the Rajya Sabha that in order to enhance the production of pulses in the country, the Government of India has been implementing through state Governments, the National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Pulses since 2007-08. From 2016-17, NFSM-Pulses has been extended to 638 districts of 29 States. From 2015-16, pulses have also been brought under the scheme “Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI)” as part of demonstrations under cropping systems based approach to target rice fallow areas.

• In order to increase productivity of pulses, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has undertaken research programmes in different pulses at commodity based research institutes. The research programmes include basic and strategic research related to crop improvement and production technologies in different pulse crops. For developing location-specific varieties/hybrids and suitable production technologies of pulses to improve their production and quality, the research findings are validated in relevant agro-ecologies by  crop-specific All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRPs), mostly situated in the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).

• During July 2016 the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved a long-term contract by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mozambique for import of pulses either through the private channels or Government-to-Government (G2G) sales through State Agencies nominated by the two countries.

• The MoU is aimed at promoting the production of Pigeon Peas/ Tur and other pulses in Mozambique by encouraging progressive increase in the trading of these pulses. The MOU includes targets for exports of Tur and other pulses from Mozambique to India for five financial years and aims at doubling the trade from 100,000 tonnes in 2016-17 to 200,000 tonnes is 2020-21.

• The MoU is expected to augment domestic availability of pulses in the country and thereby stabilise its prices.

• During the inter-ministerial committee meeting held to review prices of essential commodities on 7 June, 2016, it was said that nearly 13,000 MT imported pulses reached the country and delivery of about 6,000 MT pulses is in the pipeline. Arrived quantity includes 11,000 MT Tur and 2,000 MT Urad. Besides contracted import of 38,500 MT pulses, the Government agencies have procured 51,000 MT kharif and 60,000 MT rabi pulses so far.

• During the inter-ministerial committee meeting on 7 June, 2016, it was said that the State Governments have been urged repeatedly to seek allocation of pulses from the buffer stock to sell at reasonable prices which should not be more than Rs. 120 /kg. The states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana were allocated some quantity on receiving their requests. Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Telangana were reportedly further subsidizing the prices for the benefit of consumers.

• In a written reply, the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan informed the Lok Sabha on 26 April, 2016 that since speculation, cartelization, black-marketing/ hoarding put pressure on prices, domestic searches and surveys were conducted on a number of importers, traders and financiers engaged in the pulses trade. He said that the Government has regularly issued advisories to states/ UTs for strict enforcement of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act, 1955 and the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities (PBMMSEC) Act, 1980. States/ UTs have been conducting raids and seized pulses are being disposed, as per the provisions under the EC Act, 1955.

• As per the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (press release dated 26 April, 2016), the following steps were taken by the Government to contain prices of pulses:

* Export of all pulses is banned except kabuli channa and up to 10,000 MTs in organic pulses and lentils.
* Import of pulses are allowed at zero import duty.
* Stock limit on pulses extended till 30.9.2016.
* Government imported 5000 MT of Tur from Malawi/Mozambique and allocated it to States for retail sale to consumers to improve availability and to moderate prices.
* MSP (including bonus) raised for kharif pulses for Tur and Urad and Moong. MSP also raised for rabi pulses for Gram and Masoor.
* Government has approved creation of buffer stock of 1.5 lakh MT of pulses for effective market intervention.
* Government has decided to immediately release 10,000 MT of pulses from the buffer stock (consisting of 8,000 MT of Tur and 2,000 MT of Urad) to states/ UTs at subsidized rates for retailing by them at not more than Rs 120/- per kg to improve availability and stabilise prices.
* Regulatory measures by Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Chana contracts including increase in the margin requirement to discourage speculation and to moderate the price volatility in forward market and close monitoring by SEBI.
* Strict vigilance by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to prevent importers from misusing the facilities of Customs Bonded Warehouse facility
* Setting up of a Group of Officers for regular monitoring and exchange of information on hoarding, cartelization etc.

Source:

Minimum Support Prices (MSP) and bonus for Kharif Crops of 2016-17 season, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, please click here to access

Steps to Increase the Production of Pulses, Ministry of Agriculture, 22 July, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=147551

Cabinet approves import of pulses through long-term contract with Mozambique, Cabinet, Press Information Bureau, 5 July, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=146807
 
13,000 MT imported pulses arrived, more in pipeline, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, 7 June, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=146022

Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for Kharif Crops of 2016-17 season, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), 1 June, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=145856

Steps to contain the prices of pulses, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, 26 April, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=142270

Per Capita, Per Day Net Availability of Pulses, Ministry of Agriculture, 4 March, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=137358

Minimum Support Price, Vikaspedia, please click here to access

From plate to plough: The arhar challenge - Ashok Gulati & Smriti Verma, The Indian Express, 1 August, 2016, please click here to access

A finger on the pulse -M Venkaiah Naidu, The Hindu Business Line, 28 July, 2016, please click here to access
 
 
Pulses image 2
 
Reasons behind low domestic pulses production

• The report entitled Vision 2050, which has been prepared by Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR) says that in order to attain self-sufficiency the pulse requirement nationally is projected at 50 million tonnes by the year 2050. This necessitates an annual growth rate of 4.2 percent in pulses production. A paradigm shift in research, technology generation, dissemination, and commercialization along with capacity building in frontier areas of research is required to improve domestic production, says the report. The major R & D issues identified by the IIPR report for pulses are low genetic yield potential, poor and unstable yield, huge post-harvest losses, inadequate adoption of improved technologies and low profitability, which need to be tackled through integration of conventional approaches with cutting edge technologies such as genomics, molecular marker assisted breeding, transgenics, molecular approaches for stress management, high input use efficiency, quality improvement, biofortification, resource conservation technologies, value addition and food safety. Exploitation of heterosis and yield genes from wild relatives have also been identified as promising avenues for breaking yield plateaus by the report.

• The IIPR report (published in 2013) says that the present annual production of pulses in India hovers around 17-18 million tonnes, which falls short of the (annual) domestic requirement of about 20 million tonnes. This shortfall in pulses is mainly due to near stagnation in production during the last decade (1999-2009) on account of poor spread of improved varieties and technologies, abrupt climatic changes, complex disease-pest syndrome, emergence of new biotypes and races of key pests and pathogens and declining total factor productivity. In order to reduce the gap between demand and supply, the country resorts to import pulses to the tune of 2-3 million tonnes every year, says the report.

• A policy paper released in August 2015 by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) entitled Feeling the Pulse: Indian Pulses Sector shows that during the period from 1950-51 to 2013-14, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in area under total pulses at 0.08 percent was much lower than the total foodgrains (0.21 percent), rice (0.58 percent), wheat (1.7 percent) and oilseeds (1.4 percent). The introduction of Green Revolution technologies led to the substitution of pulses cultivation with high yielding varieties (HYV) of cereals in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

• As against 0.64 percent growth in productivity of pulses, the CAGR of foodgrains was 2.23 percent, rice 1.9 percent, wheat 2.75 percent and oilseeds 1.53 percent. Thus, low productivity along with loss of area has affected the production of pulses, says the NABARD policy paper. The productivity of pulses has improved from 441 kg per hectare in 1950-51 to 764 kg per hectare in 2013-14.

• Although the percentage of area under irrigation has increased from 38 percent in 1966-67 to 59 percent in 2012-13 in case of rice, and 48 percent to 93 percent in case of wheat, the same for pulses has increased from 9 percent to 16 percent during the corresponding period. We, therefore, find that pulses are still cultivated on marginal and sub-marginal land, predominantly under unirrigated conditions.

• Although the CAGR in the minimum support prices (MSP) of all the pulses offered to farmers have been higher than that of paddy and wheat, the procurement has been negligible at about 1 to 4 percent of production of pulses compared to 28 to 30 percent of cereals during 2012–13 to 2014–15.

• As per the NABARD paper, India is the largest producer (25 percent of global production), consumer (27 percent of world consumption) and importer (14 percent) of pulses in the world. The import of pulses has increased to more than 20 percent of the domestic production during 2009-10 and 2012-13.

• The Economic Survey 2015-16 says that not only is most of the land dedicated to growing pulses in each state unirrigated, but bulk of the pulses output comes predominantly from un-irrigated land. In contrast, a large chunk of wheat, rice and sugarcane output – in Punjab, Haryana and UP – is from irrigated land. Sugarcane is mostly grown on irrigated land in water-starved Maharashtra. The Economic Survey 2015-16 has suggested for large increases in pulses production on irrigated land so as to meet the high and growing demand of pulses in the country. Therefore, agriculture policy should not solely focus on cereals and sugarcane, says the Survey.

• The Economic Survey 2015-16 informs us that the country is one of the major producer and consumer of pulses, which is considered as one of the major sources of protein for the population. As compared to other countries, India has low yields. On an average, countries like Brazil, Nigeria, and Myanmar have higher yields, says the Economic Survey 2015-16. Although some Indian states perform better in terms of productivity as compared to the national average, it can be found that even a key pulse producing state such as Madhya Pradesh has yields (938 kg per hectare) barely three-fifths that of China’s (1550 kg per hectare). Given the fact that India is a major producer and consumer of pulses, the Economic Survey 2015-16 notes that imports cannot be the main source for meeting domestic demand and, therefore, policy must be geared towards incentivising the movement of resources towards production of pulses.

• The total import of pulses in the country was 3.76 million tonnes in 2009-10, 2.78 million tonnes in 2010-11, 3.5 million tonnes in 2011-12, 3.84 million tonnes 2012-13, 3.65 million tonnes in 2013-14 and 4.59 million tonnes in 2014-15 (estimated).

• The social returns to pulse production is higher than the private returns, because it not only uses less water and fertiliser but fixes atmospheric nitrogen naturally and helps keep the soil porous and well aerated because of its deep and extensive root systems. These positive social benefits should be incorporated into MSP estimates, says the Economic Survey 2015-16.

• The Economic Survey 2014-15 had suggested that the Government of India must provide better price support operations for pulses and oilseeds and dovetail their MSP policy with trade policy so that their landed costs are not below their MSP.

Source:

Vision 2050, Indian Institute of Pulses Research (Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Kanpur), please click here to access

Feeling the Pulse: Indian Pulses Sector –Smita Mohanty and Dr. KJ Satyasai, NABARD Rural Pulse, Issue X, July-August 2015, please click here to access

Economic Survey 2015-16, Volume-1, Ministry of Finance, please click here to access

Steps Taken to Increase the Production of Pulses and Oilseeds Intervention Made in Drought Affected Areas, Ministry of Agriculture, Press Information Bureau, 11 March, 2016, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=137760

Dependence on Imported Pulses, Ministry of Agriculture, Press Information Bureau, 27 February, 2015, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=116069

Economic Survey 2014-15, please click here to access
 

Food and nutrition security

• According to a document entitled Dietary Guidelines for Indians: A Manual (2011), which has been prepared by the National Institute of Nutrition (under the aegis of Indian Council of Medical Research), for a moderately active person the required dietary allowance (RDA) of pulses is 80 gram per day per person. As against the RDA, the per capita net availability of pulses per day in India was 47.2 gram in 2014 as per the Economic Survey 2015-16.

• Based on Schedule Type 2, it has been observed by the National Sample Survey Report no. 560: Nutritional Intake in India 2011-12 (68th Round) that the daily protein intake per person was 60.7 gm in the rural areas and 60.3 gm in the urban areas. The share of cereals in protein intake was nearly 58 percent for rural areas and 49 percent for urban areas.

• During 2011-12 the share of pulses in protein intake was only 10 percent in rural areas and 11 percent in urban areas. The share was 14 percent in both rural and urban Tamil Nadu, and was 10 percent or more in 9 states i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as per the NSSO 68th round data.

• The share of milk and milk products in protein intake was 10 percent in rural India and 12 percent in urban India. It was highest in Haryana (rural: 27 percent; urban: 22 percent) and Punjab (rural and urban: 23 percent), and between 14 percent and 18 percent in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

• The share of meat, fish and egg in protein intake was only 7 percent in rural areas and 9 percent in urban areas. The share was 26 percent in both rural and urban Kerala, and was 10 percent or more in only 5 other major states: West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

• Based on Schedule Type 1, it can be said that in rural India as a whole, protein intake per person per day has declined since 1993-94. In the urban areas, the decline between 1993-94 and 2011-12 is less marked than in the rural areas.

• Based on the Food Grain Bulletin (as on 31 December 2015), Right to Food activist Dipa Sinha has found that pulses/ dal are supplied through public distribution system (PDS) or ration shops only in the states/ UTs of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telengana and Daman & Diu. It must be noted that the 19 states/ UTs namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep have reported that they are not distributing essential commodities in addition to wheat, rice, coarse-grain, sugar and subsidized kerosene oil (SKO) through PDS outlets.

• In their article entitled Child Malnutrition in Rajasthan: Study of Tribal Migrant Communities (2016), Pavitra Mohan, Kumaril Agarwal and Priyanka Jain have said that the PDS in Rajasthan does not supply pulses, as opposed to what the official records show. As per the list of states/UTs that supplies various commodities through their PDS or ration outlets, which has been prepared by Dipa Sinha (based on the Food Grain Bulletin, December 2015), green Moong dal is supplied on demand and this scheme is operational since February, 2013. Sinha personally thinks that pulses, which is given through the PDS shops in Rajasthan is meant only for the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs).

• The Global Nutrition Report 2016 of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ranks the country 114 for under-5 stunting out of 132 countries, 120 for under-5 wasting out of 130 countries, 170 for anaemia out of 185 countries and 104 for adult diabetes out of 190 countries.

• The stunting prevalence (among children below age 5 years) in India is 38.7 percent, which is higher than that of China (9.4 percent), Sri Lanka (14.7 percent) and Bangladesh (36.1 percent).

• The wasting prevalence (among children below age 5 years) in India is 15.1 percent, which is higher than that of China (2.3 percent) and Bangladesh (14.3 percent).

• The per capita consumption of kilo calories per day in India is 2390 kcal per capita per day, which is low as compared to China (3040 kcal per capita per day).

• The proportion of calories from non-staples in India is 40 percent, which is low as compared to that of China (48 percent).

• The country is off-course in making progress towards World Health Assembly (WHA) targets (on reducing the prevalence of under-5 wasting), as per 2015 and 2016 assessments made by the Global Nutrition Report 2016.

• The country is off-course in making progress towards World Health Assembly (WHA) targets (on reducing the prevalence of under-5 stunting) but some progress has been made, as per 2015 and 2016 assessments made by the Global Nutrition Report 2016.

• The prevalence of anaemia in women of reproductive age is 48.1 percent in India, which is higher than that of Bangladesh (43.5 percent), Nepal (36.1 percent), and Sri Lanka (25.7 percent).

• According to recent data from the Rapid Survey on Children-2014 (RSOC-2014), 38.7 percent of Indian children under the age of five years are stunted, 19.8 percent are wasted, and 42.5 percent are underweight. Stunting (low height for age) is a measure of chronic undernutrition; wasting (low weight for height) indicates acute undernutrition; and underweight (low weight for age) is a composite of these two conditions.  

Source:

Child Malnutrition in Rajasthan: Study of Tribal Migrant Communities -Pavitra Mohan, Kumaril Agarwal and Priyanka Jain, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 51, Issue No. 33, 13 August, 2016, please click here to access 

Global Nutrition Report 2016, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI),
Please click link1 to access, click link2 to access
 
India Health Report: Nutrition 2015 by Public Health Foundation of India, Transform Nutrition and UK Aid, please click here to access 

Statistical Appendix to the Economic Survey 2015-16, please click here to access

National Sample Survey Report no. 560: Nutritional Intake in India 2011-12, 68th Round, please click here to access

Dietary Guidelines for Indians: A Manual (2011), National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, please click here to access
 
List of various commodities sold through the PDS or ration outlets in different states/ UTs, based on the Food Grain Bulletin, December 2015 (as shared by Right to Food activist Dipa Sinha with the Inclusive Media for Change team), please click here to access
 
Food Grain Bulletin (various months), Department of Food & Public Distribution, http://dfpd.nic.in/food-grain-bulletin.htm
 
Food intake dynamics undergo changes: NSSO, Newsalert from Inclusive Media for Change, please click here to access
 
 
Image Courtesy: Himanshu Joshi 
 

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