August 9, 2018 / 1:15 PM / 4 months ago

India offers welfare schemes 3.5 million tonnes of pulses at subsidised prices

Pulses are kept on display for sale inside a shop at a wholesale market in Guwahati, February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India will provide 3.5 million tonnes of pulses to welfare schemes at subsidised prices as the world’s biggest producer tries to dispose of surplus output.

The central government will offer pulses at a discount of 15 rupees ($0.2185) per kg to state governments for schemes such as a mid-day meal run for school children, the government said in a statement.

India will spend 52.37 billion rupees ($762.91 million) to provide chickpeas, pigeon peas, black matpe, green gram and lentils at a subsidised price for 12 months, it said.

State-run agencies have procured a record 4.54 million tonnes of pulses from farmers in 2017/18 after prices plunged below state-mandated prices due to bumper production.

The government has been trying to create storage space for summer-sown crops that will be harvested from next month, said Nitin Kalantri, a pulses miller in the state of Maharashtra.

India has restricted imports of pulses to help prop-up local prices, hitting suppliers like Canada, Australia and Russia.

Due to the restrictions, imports could fall nearly 80 percent to 1.2 million tonnes during the financial year that started in April, the lowest since 2000/01, industry officials estimate.

($1 = 68.6450 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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