The Cabinet Committee
on Economic Affairs today gave its approval for introducing a variant of
the earlier scheme for subsidized distribution of imported pulses
through the Public Distribution System (PDS) with the nomenclature
“Scheme for supply of imported pulses at subsidised rates to States/UTs
for distribution under Public Distribution System to Below Poverty Line
Card Holders” with a subsidy element of Rs.20 per kilogram to be paid to
designated importing agencies upto a maximum of the number of BPL card
The approval of the scheme would help in making available pulses, a
critical protein requirement of the vulnerable section of society Below
Poverty Line (BPL card holders), at subsidised rates. This will provide
cushion to the vulnerable sections of society against any significant
increase in the prices of pulses.
The new scheme is in the form of an interim arrangement to tide over the
possible spike in prices of pulses. Imports are to be undertaken by the
designated agencies, such as STC, MMTC, PEC, NAFED and NCCF. These
designated import agencies will be directly entering into contract with
the States/UTs for supply of imported pulses to be distributed under PDS.
Subsidy amount to be claimed by the state/UT will be in line with the
figure of the state-wise BPL households used by the Department of Food
and Public Distribution for allocation of foodgrains to States/UTs for
distribution under PDS. State/UT Governments will monitor and ensure
that the distribution strategy enables the subsidy benefit to reach the
The release of payments to the importing agencies would be made within a
time frame as existed in the earlier PDS scheme. This scheme will be in
operation till 31.03.2013 and a decision regarding its continuation will
be taken early next year.
The scheme for subsidised distribution of imported pulses through the
PDS with a provision of Rs.10/- per kg as subsidy element was introduced
in 2008, and pulses were to be imported by the designated PSUs viz. STC,
MMTC, PEC, NAFED and NCCF. The PSUs were to supply pulses in bulk to the
State Governments and the maximum quantity that was to be distributed
would not exceed one kg. of pulses per family per month. The
distribution was to be restricted to BPL families, but could also cover
a part of Above Poverty Line (APL) families, depending on the
availability and distribution logistics.
The benefits under the scheme had been availed by a few states. In view
of the currently anticipated fall in the production of pulses coupled
with the uncertainty in the availability of pulses in the international
market, the need to protect the interests of BPL population has given
rise to the present proposal.