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New Delhi: With prices of pulses soaring, the Centre on Wednesday announced “large-scale” imports of the kitchen staple to improve domestic supplies.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given directions to import pulses in large quantities to make good the shortfall,” Union Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters briefing on the cabinet decisions.

However, the minister did not specify the quantity of pulses the government plans to import from foreign countries such as Canada and Myanmar. Modalities of the import of pulses would be finalised in due course.

Prices of pulses have risen by up to 64 per cent in the last one year as the domestic production fell by nearly two million tonnes in 2014-15 due to unfavourable weather conditions.

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan also asked state governments to take strict action against hoarders. Production of pulses is estimated to have fallen to 17.38 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from 19.25 million tonnes in the previous crop year due to deficient monsoon last year and unseasonal rains and hailstorms during March-April this year.

India imports about four million tonnes of pulses, largely through private trade, to meet domestic shortfall.


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