Govt allows only dal millers to import pulses under quota for second year

The Union commerce ministry issued a notice regarding restricting pulses imports to processors.

The government has allowed only dal millers to import the annual permissible quota of pulses, a restricted commodity, for the second consecutive year. The industry expects the number of applications for procuring import licences to increase five-eight times this year as those who imported the commodity last year booked good profits.

The Union commerce ministry issued a notice regarding restricting pulses imports to processors on Tuesday, allowing import of 200,000 tonnes of tur and 150,000 tonnes each of moong, urad and yellow peas.

“We expect that the number of applications to get import licence for pulses could rise to 1,500-2,000 from about 300 applications last year,” said Bimal Kothari, vice president, Indian Pulses and Grains Association.

International prices of pulses had hit rock bottom as India had put restrictions on import of pulses. This helped dal millers earn good profits on the processing of imported pulses in 2018-19, even though domestic prices were subdued.

The All India Dal Millers Association (AIDMA) had demanded that only millers be allowed to import the restricted quantities of pulses. “Multinational companies used to import and hoard pulses, which led to a speculative price rise. With dal millers importing their raw material directly, prices of pulses remained stable in the previous year,” said Suresh Agarwal, president, AIDMA.

In 2018-19, even though the government had allowed import of 800,000 tonnes of pulses, the industry estimates that about two million tonnes of pulses were imported in the country as traders got a court stay on the order of the Director General of Foreign Trade allowing only millers to import pulses.

From January 2019, the commerce ministry has issued notifications in the matter which cannot be challenged in the court since the ministry has the authority to take the decision.

“The decision of the government to restrict pulses imports to dal millers has helped even smaller millers participate in imports, which were restricted to only MNCs and big traders,” said Agarwal.

Source: The Economic Times


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