As price of pulses has started climbing again after last October’s steep
rise, the government has taken several counter-measures. These include
releasing stocks from the buffer, empowering states to impose stock
limits, conducting tax raids on traders in Maharashtra, and sharply
increasing the margin on chickpeas futures.The Centre on Friday decided
to release 10,000 tonnes of pulses, mainly tur and urad, from buffer
stocks. States have been asked to release stocks available with them and
they can approach the Centre for more.
The Security and Exchange Board of India has told the National Commodity
and Derivatives Exchange to levy a special margin of 25 per cent (in
cash) on the long side and 5 per cent (in cash) on the short side on all
running and yet to be launched chana contracts from Friday. This is
second action by Sebi on chana. The regulator on April 13 had imposed
five per cent special and five per cent additional margin. The total
margin on chana comes to 50 per cent. In October last year, Sebi had
imposed virtually 100 per cent margin on chana futures.
Sebi has taken this action to control the speculative interest in chana
contract, so that the price discovery does not get distorted. Our
surveillance system is closely monitoring the contract to ensure market
integrity, said Rajeev Agarwal, whole time member, Sebi.
The Union food and consumer affairs ministry has informed state
governments to focus on the rise in pulses prices. The income tax
department searched several traders across the country to unearth
possible links between hoarding of pulses and the price rise. Sources
said tax officials conducted searches at 22 locations in Mumbai, Delhi,
Jalgaon and Indore.“Between December and March, vegetables are available
cheap and the demand for pulses declines. Between April and June,
vegetable supply decreases, resulting in a surge in demand for pulses.
Unless supply is managed, pulses prices will continue to remain firm,”
said Bimal Kothari, managing director, Pancham International, an
importer of pulses.
The benchmark tur for delivery in Akola has jumped 4.65 per cent in
April to trade at Rs 9,000 a quintal, prices polled by the NCDEX show.
Urad and chana have surged by about 12 per cent each to trade at Rs
11,250 a quintal and Rs 5,300 a quintal, respectively.
Tur prices have moved up by Rs 50 a kg in 10 days despite the Centre
procuring 50,000 tonnes as buffer. The government feels traders are
hoarding again in anticipation of a weak rabi harvest due to drought in
Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Government agencies have imported only
15,000 tonnes of pulses so far against annual imports of 500,000 tonnes.
Traders believe price will remain elevated till the new crop arrives.
Government agencies have imported only 15,000 tonnes of pulses so far
against annual imports of 500,000 tonnes. Traders believe price will
remain elevated till the new crop arrives.