How India has become relatively atmanirbhar in Pulses compared to Edible Oil

Source: The post is based on the article “How India has become relatively atmanirbhar in Pulses compared to Edible Oil” published in the Indian Express on 5th June 2023

What is the News?

India is significantly import-dependent on Edible oil and pulses. Due to various steps, India has now achieved over 90% self-sufficiency in dals.

About India’s import of edible oil and pulses

Source: Indian Express

Edible oil: Between 2013-14 and 2022-23 (April-March), the value of India’s vegetable oil imports has increased significantly. Out of the 24-25 million tonnes (mt) cooking oil that the country consumes annually, only 9-10 mt is from domestically produced grain. The balance 14-15 mt is imported.

Pulses: The value of imports has posted only a marginal rise during the nine years. The reduction in pulses imports has come essentially on the back of higher domestic production. According to the Agriculture Ministry, India’s pulses output has increased from 19.26 mt in 2013-14 to 27.50 mt in 2022-23. The Yellow/white peas (matar) and chickpea (chana) has recorded dramatic import reduction.

What led to the decrease in pulses imports?

Source: Indian Express

The boost to chana production came from two key government measures such as

Import levies: The government levy a) a 60% import duty on chana since March 2018, b) a 50% duty plus a minimum price of Rs 200/kg below which imports are not permitted. These have resulted in a near-complete stoppage of imports.

Note: Yellow/white peas imported mainly from Canada, Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania are basically a substitute for chana.

Government procurement at minimum support prices (MSP): The MSP of chana itself has been raised from Rs 3,100 to Rs 5,335 per quintal between 2013-14 and 2022-23.

Incentivizing Indian farmers to expand area under the pulses crop grown during the rabi (winter-spring) season.

What is still a cause of concern for pulses?

Chana’s success has not been replicated for other pulses, particularly arhar/tur or pigeon pea. The same goes for urad (black gram), a predominantly kharif (post-monsoon sown) crop like arhar. Masoor (red lentil) imports from Canada and Australia have crossed 1.1-1.2 mt in some years. There is currently no duty on imports of masoor, arhar or urad.


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