• Recently, a new portal has been launched by the government to buy pulses directly from farmers at support prices.


  • The government launched a new portal where farmers can register and sell their produce directly to the central agencies at the minimum support price.
  • The launch of portal has led to spike in consumer prices which were 18% higher year-on-year in November 2023.
  • The Centre hopes that the promise of assured purchase at MSP will get farmers to plant more pulses and thus help cut down the imports.
  • India expects to be a net exporter of pulses by the end 2027.


  • The total pulses production in India has increased from 8347 thousand tons to 25,416 thousand tons from 1950 to 2019.
  • The total production of pulses such as tur, urad and other lentils was estimated to be around 28 million metric tons in 2023.
  • This was an overall improvement in production from the financial year 2002 across the south Asian country.
  • India is the largest producer (25% of global production), largest consumer (27% of world consumption) and largest importer (14%) of pulses in the world.
  • Pulses account for 7-10 per cent of the total foodgrains production in the country and around 20 per cent of the area under foodgrains is under pulses production.
  • Though pulses are grown in both Kharif and Rabi seasons but Rabi pulses contribute more than 60 per cent of the total production.


  • Since last few years, the production of pulses was estimated at 27-28 million tonnes.
  • The imports were around 2.5 million tonnes in 2022-23.
  • The shortfall of pulses is largely in varieties like arhar, where lower production led to a surge in prices and imports.
  • Other than arhar, India also imports black gram and lentils.

  • The government has allowed duty free import of pigeon peas, black gram and lentils till March 2025 to increase the domestic availability and lower retail prices.
  • As higher supply of imported pulses can help lowering down of local prices but it can further dissuade farmers from increasing the area under cultivation.


  • As the Green Revolution promoted rice and wheat using external inputs and modern varieties of seeds, pulses were pushed to the marginal lands.
  • The preference of rice and wheat resulted in decline in productivity of pulses and land degradation.
  • While population has grown at 2% CAGR, the pulses production has grown at a meagre 0.7% CAGR from 1971 to 2008.
  • The pulses in India are considered as a residual crop and they are grown under rain-fed conditions in marginal/ less fertile lands.
  • Pests and heavy weed infestation, blue bull and pod borers cause substantial damage to standing crops.
  • Around 30% of standing crops are destroyed by pests before harvest.
  • Apart from that, due to excessive moisture and attack by stored grain pests especially the pulse beetle, there are post-harvest losses during storage.
  • Thus, farmers perceive pulses as having a lower cost benefit ratio vis-à-vis other crops like wheat and rice.


  • The farmers require improved climate-resilient varieties and other technological intervention similar to Green revolution.
  • Pulses can fix nitrogen in soil, improve soil fertility and have a low carbon footprint—thus, farmers deserve a premium for these.
  • Niti Aayog says demand for pulses is expected to increase to 33 million tonnes by 2029-30.
  • To meet the demand, productivity need to be increased from current low levels. For instance, the average yield of arhar produced in India was 860 kg per hectare in 2022 which is not very different from the average yield of 850 kg per hectare recorded way back in 1961.
  • India will have to invest more in public research on pulses and release high-yielding varieties, as global seed giants are not interested in pulses.


  • It requires a multi-pronged approach that involves improving productivity, increasing production, reducing wastage, and implementing effective policies and programs to support the sector and to address the demand–supply mismatch for pulses in India
  • The creation of National mission on pulses will serve as a powerful communication platform to infuse a sense of urgency and can create an impetus for faster execution.


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