In order to maintain sufficient stocks of lentils, state-run FCI will this week start the procurement operation to buy a total of 50,000 tonnes of pulses, including masoor and gram, at a budget of Rs 240 crore.
Besides, to ensure adequate supply in the domestic market and keep a check on prices, the government is also importing pulses and creating the buffer stock.
Following the spike in pulses prices, the government had set a target to procure one lakh tonnes of rabi pulses, out of which 50,000 was to be done by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the remaining by Nafed and SFAC.
The government agencies have already procured 51,000 tonnes of kharif pulses. Out of this, FCI has procured 20,000 tonne of tur.
The corporation is expecting to procure chunk of the quantity from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan among other states.
"FCI is estimated the budget of Rs 240 crore on total procurement operation of pulses which includes transportation and storage, excluding processing," the same official added.
Pulse prices continue to remain firm for a second straight year due to production concerns. Pulse output in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) is expected to be 17.33 million tonnes as against the demand of 22-23 million tonnes. The gap is being met through imports.
About 1.23 lakh tonnes of pulses seized from hoarders have been disposed of by the government in open market so far to boost supply and contain rising prices.