Pulses
Centre asks states to remove local taxes on essential commodities, making them cheaper. In Picture: Pulses kept on display for sale in a shop in Ahmedabad, India [Representational Image]Reuters

As prices continue to rise, India's imports of pulses are projected to reach 10 million tonnes in the current fiscal year, more than double the volume imported in 2014-15, according to a study.

"Considering deficit in the rainfall for 2015-16, it is expected that the production of pulses for the year would decrease slightly to 17 million tonnes as against 17.2 million tonnes in 2014-15," said a study by Assocham.

"Further, with the rise in demand, it is expected that a total of 10.1 million tonnes of pulses might have to be imported," PTI quoted the study, as saying.

But the country may find it "difficult" to bridge the demand-supply gap due to "global supply constraints".

"While we are coping with a difficult situation this year, we cannot afford to continue with it since shooting up of prices of essential food items creates an adverse ecosystem and negative discourse. Besides, it adds to food prices which cannot be allowed again to creep into the main inflation," Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.

The largest producers of pulses in kharif season -- Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh -- have faced problems with weather, the study said.

Combined contribution of the five states to total kharif pulses output in the country stands at nearly 70%.

"The issue of meeting the domestic demand for pulses goes beyond facing the challenge of footing increased import bill. The efficient distribution of available pulses across regions is going to be the biggest challenge to the policymakers," Rawat added.

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