Pulses Production – Subramanian Committee, Eco Survey, etc.

Aug, 06, 2019

Why Brazil’s new pesticide rules should worry India


  • India needs to watch out as Brazil, Latin America’s powerhouse, dilutes its regulations related to pesticide rules.
  • Brazil’s health surveillance agency Anvisa approved new rules which said pesticides in Brazil would be categorised as ‘extremely toxic’ only if they carry a ‘risk of death’.

Dilution of rules

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies pesticides into four classes on the basis of toxicity: extremely dangerous, highly dangerous, moderately dangerous and slightly dangerous.
  • According to the new rules, ‘extremely dangerous and toxic pesticides’ will now be reclassified into lower categories.
  • The new rules are thus contrary to the existing classification model that considers death risk, along with other effects like skin and eye irritations.
  • While a person may not die due to impact on the skin or an eye, these are certainly indicators of hazardous impacts on health.

Brazil, beans and glyphosate

  • Two years ago, Brazil was the world’s top exporter of soyabeans and captured half the market, followed closely by the US.
  • In 2017, Brazil was the third-biggest seller of beans to India, with six per cent of the market share, after Myanmar (60 per cent) and China (10 per cent).
  • This year too, it is on its way to being the leading exporter of soyabeans globally due to the increasing demand from China.
  • But there is one big hitch in all this: pesticides.
  • Brazillian farmers use pesticides in growing all of the country’s major export crops — soyabeans, corn, sugarcane, coffee, rice, beans, and cotton.

Why Brazilian soyabean is harmful?

  • Soyabeans is a major crop that is laden with pesticides.
  • While pesticide use in Brazil has risen three-times faster than production per hectare, each one per cent increase in soyabean production has been accompanied by a 13 per cent increase in pesticide use.
  • It may be noted that glyphosate is used on around 95 per cent of soyabean, corn and cotton harvested in Brazil and there is no readily available substitute.

Hazards of glyphosate

  • The widely-used herbicide has been linked to numerous health problems.
  • It has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an intergovernmental agency under WHO.
  • Russia and many European countries called for the removal of all Brazilian products and called for a general boycott on Brazil until the government changes the policy on pesticides.

What can be done to counter this?

  • Since India does not have any set standards for maximum residual limits for glyphosate, the FSSAI has decided to use the standards set by Codex Alimentarius, a joint committee set up by the WHO and FAO.
  • It has also suggested the testing of imported shipments of these products for compliance with these limits.
  • Even as Brazil is likely to go ahead with its agenda on revising and weakening pesticide rules, the global consumers or the importing nations need to be cautious while granting import clearances to crops from Brazil.
Sep, 11, 2017

[op-ed snap] From plate to plough: No feel for the pulse

Image result for pulses

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.

“Pulses are an interesting and unique commodity group in the Indian agri-food space.” What are the issues faced by pulse production in India and suggest remedies?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: MSP

Mains level: Pulses and related issues



  1. India ranks first not only in Pulse production and consumption, but also their import.
  2. Domestic absorption in recent years (2012-13 to 2015-16) has hovered between 21 million metric tonnes (MMT) and 23 MMT, while domestic production has ranged from 16.4 MMT to 19.3 MMT.
  3.  In 2016-17, India witnessed its highest ever domestic production of pulses — a staggering 22.95 MMT.

Reasons behind record production?

  1. It can be attributed to a normal monsoon in 2016 after two consecutive drought years
  2. High market prices of pulses prevailing at the time of the kharif sowing
  3. Steep hikes in the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) — up to 9.2 per cent for kharif and 16.2 per cent for rabi pulses.
  4. These favourable conditions significantly drove up kharif acreage to almost 36 per cent above normal. 
  5. The production of kharif pulses increased by nearly 70 per cent in 2016-2017 over that of the previous year and the total production of pulses increased by about 40 per cent.

What are the problems involved ?

  1. Despite such such bumper production India imported a record 6.6 MMT of pulses, valued at nearly $4.3 billion at zero import duty
  2. As a result, domestic supply of pulses in 2016-17 shot up to 29.6 MMT, way above the typical supply of 22-23 MMT.
  3. This glut in domestic supplies caused wholesale prices to crash, despite a bold and first-of-its-kind effort by the government to procure around 1.6 MMT of pulses.
  4.  If there is no change in the government’s methods, we may either witness a decline in production of kharif pulses or another price crash this year. That may spur another round of farm loan waivers.

Solution to this problem??

  1.  The landed price of imported pulses should not be below the MSP of domestic pulses, else the MSP is irrelevant
  2.  Exports of all pulses must be opened up without any quantity or minimum export price (MEP) restrictions. Export restrictions betray anti-farmer policies.
  3. Pulses should be de-listed from the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act so that farmers can sell freely to whosoever they like,
  4. Essential Commodities Act (ECA), especially the provision that imposes stocking limits, must be critically evaluated and the act should be amended drastically
  5. Unless private players are reassured that no ad-hoc stocking limits will be imposed, there will be no investments in building storage and efficient value-chains.
  6. Give the farmer right incentives — at least some reasonable margin above the cost of production.
  7. Futures trading should also be allowed for all types of pulses so that planting and selling decisions of farmers are based on a futuristic rather than a backward-looking price information.
Aug, 20, 2016

Sowing of pulses at a record high

  1. News: So far, the area sown with pulses is 39% more than what is usual by this time of the year which is a record high
  2. Reasons: Higher prices of pulses have led to farmers planting different varieties like arhar and urad
  3. Also, higher planting in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra
  4. Background: In the past two years, consecutive droughts have led to a dip in production and record imports, spiking prices
Jul, 15, 2016

High prices of dal may hit protein intake

  1. News: Though the government is aiming to tackle inflation, especially in pulses, the price rise of the protein source might affect nutrition of a sizeable population
  2. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisations’ India representative said that impact of increase of pulse prices on various income groups may be unequal
  3. The consumption of pulses will be reduced especially among people in the lower income bracket
  4. Importance: Pulse is an important source of protein in India with a large vegetarian population
Apr, 27, 2016

Maharashtra Pulses Price Regulatory Act

  1. Context: Maharashtra Cabinet approved the draft of the Act to control soaring tur dal prices
  2. Provision: Traders will have to sell pulses at government-approved rates for six months
  3. Unique: With this, Maharashtra becomes the first State to take such a regulatory step.
  4. Also, Pulses, despite not being part of foodgrains available under PDS, are the only food items whose prices will be directly controlled by the State
  5. Criticism: Going back to the infamous ‘Licence Raj’ of the past
  6. Benefit: Will bring relief to consumers, and check malpractice that have been going on for long
Dec, 30, 2015

Centre will expedite pulses import: Paswan

  1. The Centre will step up its efforts to expedite imports of pulses, to keep the price of pulses under check by ensuring adequate availability in the market.
  2. India had produced 17.2 million tonnes of pulses this year and imported 4.5 million tonnes.
  3. Earlier, the IT dept. had conducted searches on pulses traders and commodity business centres in several cities.
  4. The search operations were a part of their investigation into alleged tax evasion in the pulses trade and allied activities.
Dec, 10, 2015

CCEA approves creation of buffer stock of pulses

In a bid to keep pulses price under check, that went sky-rocketing during past few months, the Centre has decided to do it.

  1. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval for creation of buffer stock of pulses. The buffer stock will be created in current year itself.
  2. Procurement of pulses will be done at market prices through the FCI, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED), the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC).
  3. The procurement in kharif and rabi 2015-16 will be done at market price above MSP out of the price stabilisation fund.
  4. This move will reduce a price fluctuations and will also help in providing remunerative prices to farmers in times of excess production.
Nov, 17, 2015

Boost production of pulses, says expert

  1. The agricultural experts stressed on the need to develop new varieties of pulses with higher yield.
  2. This will protect farmers’ interests and people will not be deprived of nutrition.
  3. Govt. should push for technological advancement to increase the productivity of pulses.
  4. To improve and develop new varieties of pulses, huge investments in R&D is required to be made.
  5. The overall yield of pulses in India is far lower than the world level of 910 kg per hectare.
Oct, 28, 2015

Over 80,000 tonnes of seized pulses will be available in open market

Importers seek exemption from stock limits

  1. The Centre declared that the 82,462.53 tonnes of pulses seized in various States under the Essential Commodities Act would be made available in the open market.
  2. To augment supplies and arrest further hike in the prices of tur and urad dals.
  3. No word on the rate at which these pulses will be made available in the open market.
  4. Pulses importers and millers have urged the government to lift stock holding limits on pulses.
  5. Pulses prices shot up due to shortage in supplies owing to drought.
Oct, 27, 2015

States sell subsidised pulses to hold price

  1. States have started selling pulses at prices much lower than the market rates, either through govt. agencies or the PDS.
  2. Earlier, Centre appealed States to supply tur dal at reasonable rates.
Oct, 15, 2015

Govt. to create buffer stock of pulses

  1. The Union govt. has announced that it will create a buffer stock using imports, as prices of pulses shoot up.
  2. The Price Stabilisation Fund of the Centre will be used to cool prices of pulses.
  3. The creation of the buffer stock of lentils mainly through imports will help to address the supply crunch.
Aug, 10, 2015

India plans to barter surplus sugar for pulses from abroad

  1. Ministries of External Affairs and Commerce working on proposal.
  2. The quantum of sugar annually getting accumulated in the last four years has been quite substantial.
  3. India is the largest producer as well as largest importer of the pulses. Why is that so?
  4. Pulses being rich in proteins act as a main source of protein for the large vegetarian population of the country.
Jun, 30, 2015

MSP hike can boost pulses production

An analysis on why farmers prefer to grow cereals rather than pulses found that pulses are among the least productive of all crops.

  1. Low yields on the one hand and relatively more lucrative MSP for other food grains make pulses an unattractive crop for farmers.
  2. Pulses are increasingly grown on less fertile land, thereby impacting its yield.
  3. The technological advances failed to increase the yield of pulses significantly, unlike cereals, which saw huge increase in productivity.
May, 27, 2015

Shortfall in Pulses to be compensated by Imports

  1. Price of pulses have augmented up by 64% in last one year.
  2. Pulses production fell from 19.78 to 18.43 million tonnes in one year.
  3. Quantum of pulse imported by India – 4 million tonnes.
  4. Imported by – State owned trading firms such as MMTC
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