The government will start acquiring pulses during the lockout period, 13 states on board to help farmers

NEW DELHI: Securing the gram and lentil during the period, the Center on Sunday approved a decision to obtain them from farmers with a minimum price support (MSP) under its iconic price support scheme in 13 states.

The move to obtain these pulses by public sector food procurement agencies will help farmers raise money on hand and maintain the crucial supply chain for these farms during the closure period.

Under this approval, 25% of the total gram and lentil product, amounting to Rs 1,250 crore, can be obtained from 13 states, including Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan In October last year, the Center set the MSP for gram and lentils at Rs 4,875 per quintal and Rs 4,800 per quintal, respectively, for the Rabi 2020-21 marketing season.

This crucial decision to purchase gram and lentils has been made under the price support scheme (PSS) without waiting for any formal proposal from these states, the Union's agriculture minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, said.

In normal situations, the Center handles the acquisition of pulses only after receiving formal proposals from the states.

Central node agencies purchase legumes under the PSS with the proactive role of state governments. Procurement agencies include the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Marketing (NAFED) and (FCI). Expenses and losses due to acquisitions are borne by the central government.

The movement of the Center in the acquisition of pulses is part of other measures that are being taken to guarantee that farmers can harvest their Rabi crops (sown in winter) such as wheat, mustard, corn, mills and pulses and obtain money by selling it. The state-backed acquisition at MSP will help farmers obtain remunerative prices for their products when the normal operation of agricultural markets in many parts of the country is disrupted during the closing period.

Last week, the Home Office kept agricultural and procurement operations and the operation of agricultural markets in exempt categories to allow farmers to continue their agricultural operations during the closing period. Subsequently, he sent reminders to states this week, calling on local authorities to allow these operations while maintaining social distancing.