The Rajasthan government has finally re-imposed the stock limit on traders to counter the countrywide rise in pulse prices on the home turf, according to a government notification issued on Tuesday evening.
As per the notification, a wholesaler can keep a stock of 2000 quintals and a retailer not more than 25 quintals. The order shall expire on September 30, 2016.
Experts said the decision reflected that the government had identified the cause of the price hike to be hoarding and black marketing more than their short supply due to low production.However, the traders had been for import of pulses to ease the situation.
The retail prices of arhar (tur), urad, moong and others had zoomed between Rs 150 and Rs 210 per kg in Jaipur, especially after the government’s July 1 stock limit order expired on September 30.
However, the traders said the step would not prove to be effective as the cause of price rise had been the demand-supply gap due to poor production following a deficit monsoon.
Earlier, food and civil supplies minister Hem Singh Bhadana had said that the government was weighing two options to stem the price rise—one was direct import of pulses and the other was re-imposition of the stock limit. The latter had proved effective earlier.
However, residents of the state capital said that the government should have taken the decision soon after the earlier order had expired. Giving over 20 days to the hoarders was enough to upset the kitchen budget.
Poonam Sain, housewife in walled city area, said, “Dal has now become a luxury—it is cooked once a week.” Santosh Sharma, a government employee said, “My family cannot eat chapatti without dal, but with high prices, it is cooked twice or thrice a week”.
Rajasthan Khadya Padarth Vyapar Sangh additional general secretary Rajendra Kumar Tambi said Rajasthan had been producing enough pulses, but the maximum was being sent to Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra, where the pulse production had been 15% this year.
He said the prices would certainly normalise as the kharif harvesting was round the corner. The government should have gone for importing pulses to control the situation instead of reimposing the stock limit.
Rajasthan Dal Mill Association president Babu Lal Goyal too said that the decision won’t help as the pulses production this year had been down by 50% as compared to that of the last year.
Rajasthan Kisan Union general secretary Badri Prasad Dhaka said Rajasthan was suitable for pulses cultivation and the government should encourage it more with incentives to the farmers.