Pulses Production – Subramanian Committee, Eco Survey, etc.

Pulses Production – Subramanian Committee, Eco Survey, etc.

India’s Surge in Pulses Imports: A Six-Year High


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Pulses: Cultivation pattern, Export dynamics, Consumption etc.

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • India’s pulses imports in fiscal 2024 witnessed a remarkable surge, soaring by 84% year-on-year to their highest level in six years.
  • Lower production levels prompted India to permit duty-free imports of red lentils (Masoor) and yellow peas (Tur/Arhar), further driving the increase in imports.

Pulses Cultivation in India

Seasons Cultivated in both ‘Kharif’ and ‘Rabi’ seasons. ‘Rabi’ pulses contribute more than 60% of production.

Kharif Season Pulses:

  1. Pigeon Peas (Arhar/Toor/Red Gram)
  2. Green Beans (Moong Beans)
  3. Black Matpe (Urad/Mah/Black Gram)
  4. Black Eyed Peas (Lobia)
  5. Chick Peas (Kabuli Chana)
  6. Red Kidney Beans (Rajmash)

Rabi Season Pulses:

  1. Bengal Gram (Desi Chick Pea/Desi Chana)
  2. Lentils (Masoor)
  3. White Peas (Matar)
Production (2023)  Approximately 27.5 million metric tonnes

Reported as 7.6 quintals per hectare

Area under Cultivation Pulses account for around 20% of the area under food grains in India.
Top Producing States Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka
Government Initiatives National Food Security Mission (NFSM) for Pulses, Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) Scheme
Research and Development Conducted by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in collaboration with State Agricultural Universities
Goal Aim for self-sufficiency in pulse production by 2027


Pulses Import: Figures and Value

  • India imported a total of 4.65 million metric tons of pulses in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, marking the highest volume since fiscal 2018.
  • In terms of value, imports surged by 93% to reach $3.75 billion in the same period.


Pulses Production in India: Key Facts

  • India is the largest producer (25% of global production), consumer (27% of world consumption) and importer (14%) of pulses in the world (as per FAO).
  • Pulses account for around 20% of the area under foodgrains and contribute around 7-10% of the total foodgrains production in the country (as per Vikaspedia).
  • Gram (Chana) is the most dominant pulse having a share of around 40 per cent in the total production followed by Tur/Arhar at 15 to 20 per cent and Urad and Moong at around 8-10 per cent each. (Reference)
  • Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka are the top five pulses producing States. (Reference)


Global Impact of Higher Imports

  • The surge in imports by India, the world’s largest importer, producer, and consumer of protein-rich pulses, has been bolstering global prices.
  • It has also contributed to reducing stocks in exporting countries such as Canada, Australia, and Myanmar.

Significance of Pulses Consumption

  1. Nutritional Value:
    • Pulses are considered to be ‘poor man’s protein’.
    • They contain 20-25% of protein by weight, with twice the protein available in wheat and thrice that present in rice.
    • WHO recommends 80gm/day of Pulses in the diet.
  2. Environmental Sustainability:
    • Pulses have low carbon and water footprints, making them integral to sustainable farming.
    • Water footprints for producing one kilogram of meat are five times higher than that of pulses.
    • Pulses emit 0.5 kilogram in CO2 equivalent per kilogram, while meat produces 9.5 kilograms in CO2 equivalent.


[2019] Among the agricultural commodities imported by India, which one of the following accounts for the highest imports in terms of value in the last five years ?

(a) Spices

(b) Fresh fruits

(c) Pulses

(d) Vegetable oils

[2020] With reference to pulse production in India, consider the following statements:

  1. Black gram can be cultivated as both kharif and rabi crop.
  2. Green-gram alone accounts for nearly half of pulse production.
  3. In the last three decades, while the production of kharif pulses has increased, the production of rabi pulses has decreased.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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Pulses Production – Subramanian Committee, Eco Survey, etc.

Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) held in New Delhi


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Pulse Confederation (GPC), Stats on Pulses Production

Mains level: NA


  • The Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) has initiated the three-day convention — Pulses 24 — in New Delhi, India.

About Global Pulse Confederation (GPC)

Formation Founded in 2016 through the merger of the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) and the International Starch Institute (ISI).
Headquarters Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Mission Represents the global pulse industry, aiming to promote the sustainable growth of the pulse industry worldwide.
Focus Areas
  • Advocating for policies supporting the pulse industry’s interests.
  • Providing resources and support to pulse industry stakeholders.
  • Facilitating research and innovation in pulse production and utilization.
Membership Open to businesses, organizations, and individuals involved in the pulse industry, including growers, processors, traders, and researchers.
India’s Connect India, being a major producer and consumer of pulses, actively participates in the GPC and holds membership status, contributing to the organization’s objectives.

Key Highlights from Pulses 24 Convention

  • Production Growth: Pulses production in India has increased by 60% over the past decade, reaching 270 lakh tonnes in 2024 from 171 lakh tonnes in 2014.
  • Partnership Goals: Mr. Goyal emphasized the partnership between NAFED and GPC, aiming to position pulses as a vital dietary component not only in India but also globally.
  • Minimum Support Price (MSP): The Centre ensures an MSP offering 50% over the actual cost of production to farmers, resulting in attractive returns on investment. Significant increases in MSP for various pulses were highlighted, reaching as high as 117% in masoor and 90% in moong over the past decade.
  • Self-Sufficiency by 2027: India’s progress towards self-reliance in chickpeas and other pulses, with efforts focused on achieving self-sufficiency in all pulses by 2027. Initiatives include the supply of new seed varieties and the expansion of tur and black gram cultivation.
  • Global Knowledge Sharing: GPC president emphasized India’s potential to benefit from the conference by exchanging best practices and technological advancements in pulse cultivation from other countries.
  • Focus on Smallholding Farmers: Pulses are noted for their soil benefits and nutritional value, particularly beneficial for smallholding farmers.

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Pulses Production – Subramanian Committee, Eco Survey, etc.

Mini-Seed Kits to boost pulses output in kharif 2021


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Pulses production in India

Mains level: Paper 3- Measures to increase pulses' production

Central government to distribute mini-kits of seed

  • The government on said it will distribute over 20 lakh mini-kits of seeds worth Rs 82.01 crore as part of a strategy to boost pulses production in the kharif season of the 2021-22 crop year.
  • The total cost for these mini-kits will be borne by the central government to boost the production and productivity of tur, moong and urad.
  • In addition to this, the usual programme of inter-cropping and area expansion by the states will continue on a sharing basis between the Centre and state, it said.

Increasing production and productivity

  • From a meagre production of 14.76 million tonnes in the 2007-08 crop year, pulses production has now reached 24.42 million tonnes in the 2020-2021 crop year, which is a phenomenal increase of 65 per cent.
  • India is still importing around 4 lakh tonnes of tur, 0.6 lakh tonnes of moong and around 3 lakh tonnes of urad for meeting its demand.
  • The special programme will increase the production and productivity of the three pulses of tur, moong and urad to a great extent and will play an important role in reducing the import burden.

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Pulses are important source of protein, high in fibre content and provide ample quantity of vitamins and minerals. India having the largest shares about 25% production, about 33% acreage and about 27% consuming of total pulses of the world.

Although India is the highest producer of pulses in the world, its domestic demand outstrips domestic production. The shortfall is met from imports. In last 1 year prices of pulses have increased sharply which has made pulses unaffordable for the common man.

In this article We will explain why despite India being the largest producer of pulses, the price of pulses have increased so rapidly and we will also discuss steps taken by government in this regard and why those steps have not achieved intended results.

  • What Factors caused increase in prices of pulses in recent years?
  • Government steps in recent years to curb pulse prices
  • Why government steps have failed to reduce prices?
  • Will creating buffer stock for pulses would be able to curb pulses price?


What factors caused increase in prices of pulses in recent years?

  • Draught: Successive back to back drought i.e failure of crops in 3 successive seasons biggest reason for current price increase in pulses
  • Low MSP: Low production of pulses due to Lower MSP prices for pulses in comparison to wheat and rice and even this low target for pulses procurement is not realized by the government, all these factors disincentives farmers towards pulse production.
  • Grown in only Marginal Land: Since pulses could be grown in marginal land, a trend has developed in India where pulses are only grown in marginal and arid lands and mostly by small farmers, all this has led to low productivity for pulse crop. Only 15% of the 25 million hectares area sown annually for pulses in India is irrigated, compared to 60% for paddy and 90-95% for wheat and sugarcane
  • Limited option of import: Option of import are limited in case of pulses since its production is restricted to few countries in Africa and Asia and even there due to lack of local demand, the production of pulses are low.
  • Rise in demand: Rise in rural income due to MNREGA and better functioning of PDS has increased demand for protein rich food including pulses in last few years.

Steps taken by Government in recent years to curb pulse prices

  • Banned exports and future trade in pulses.
  • Created buffer stock for pulses
  • Government has signed agreement with Mozambique under which India will encourage greater production of pulses in Mozambique with an assurance that it will be purchased by India at a mutually-agreed price.
  • Allowed import of pulses at zero duty.
  • Government has imported 50000 tonnes of pulses and also subsidized the domestic cost of transport, handling and milling through a price stabilization fund.
  • Imposing essential commodities act and cracking down on hoarders and black marketer through imposition of stock holding limit.
  • Government has increased MSP price of 2 pulse crops i.e. Arhar and masur by Rs 250 per quintal.
  • Inclusion of cluster demonstrations in rice fallows for pulses cultivation in rabi season from 2015-16 under BGREI (Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India) scheme in order to increase production of pulses in Eastern India in states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Eastern U.P. and West Bengal
  • A special programme for demonstration of new varieties of pulses through Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) has been taken up from Rabi 2015-16 in order to increase availability of seeds of new varieties of pulses and promote adoption of new varieties

Why government steps failed to reduce prices?

  • Firstly steps taken against stockers are discouraging them to further invest in warehouses and cold storage. In the absence of stockiest, market prices of pulses collapse, discouraging farmers from growing them in current season.
  • Secondly by suspending future and forward market in pulses, the government has simply shot the messenger. Forward and future market give signal about likely future prices and if harnessed they could actually help the government take preventive measures.
  • Thirdly government imported just 7000 tonnes to tame prices, whereas overall consumption is 3.3 to 4 million tones.
  • Fourthly the government announced MSP norms in November 2015 , which had a limited impact on Pulse production in 2016, since by that time farmers had already made decision regarding which crop they will sow in rabi season.

Will creating buffer stock for pulses help curb the rising pulses price?

  • Creation of buffer stock of 150000 tonnes from both domestic production and imports could reduce fluctuations in prices as the accumulated reserve could be released in market whenever price of pulses spikes
  • It could also increase production of pulses, since The Food Corporation of India, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India, Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium and other agencies would be engaged in purchasing the crop from farmers.
  • The payment for these purchases would be made from the price stabilisation fund created by the government. This will encourage farmers to take up pulses production on a larger scale and will enable India to help achieve self-sufficiency in pulses in a few years
  • However buffer stock alone would not be able to curtail price in the long run, alongside this step the government has to take number of other steps which include


The Way forward?

  1. Create a crop-neutral incentive structure for farmers, which at present are skewed in favour of rice, wheat & sugarcane. This could be done by rapidly increasing MSP for pulses in next few years.
  2. Greater public investment in providing irrigation facilities in areas under pulse production could increase productivity of pulses
  3. Augment seed availability of pulses
  4. More allocation should be done on scientific research related to pulses varieties so that better varieties of pulses could be developed


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