By Kartik Goyal/ Bloomberg
New Delhi: India will import 1.5 million metric tonne of lentils this year to replenish stocks and ease domestic prices of food staples, junior finance minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said on 8 May in New Delhi.
The government will buy lentils including gram and yellow peas through the National Agriculture Federation of India Ltd, MMTC Ltd, State Trading Corp. and PEC Ltd, Bansal said in a written reply to a question in parliament.
India is taking steps to stockpile grains and pulses as rising domestic prices threaten to fuel inflation with demand exceeding output. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram last week cut some duties in his final budget to help slow inflation that reached a two-year high in January.
The government contracted to buy 2,87,000 tonne as of 25 April and 52,039 tonne have already reached ports, Bansal said. India’s Congress party-led coalition is importing wheat for the second time this year and has halted the export of lentils, cut import tax on edible oils and fuels to check prices. Futures trading in wheat and rice have been banned and duties on cement and steel reduced.