Politics Fuel India's Pulse Sector

WASHINGTON - Oct 4/18 - SNS -- Political pressure from India's massive farming community may be the main reason India's government has pursued numerous interventionist and protectionist policies in the pulse sector in recent years.

In a review of the country's pulse sector and policies, the U.S. agricultural attache for India noted, "Recently, Union Minister Arun Jaitley suggested a uniform set of policies for the agriculture sector across the country so that farmers double their incomes. He pointed out that states which focused on the agriculture sector by increasing farmer incomes have been re-elected and those who neglected the priorities of the sector have paid the price."

Consequently, the government has implemented a number of policies ranging from import bans to export subsidies over the last 5 years alone. Over a period of time, the pulse MSP has been steadily increasing to spur an increase pulse acreage and production.

"These policies have been an unsuccessful effort to cover India's growing supply-demand gap, to try to stabilize pulses prices that have fallen below the MSP, and to appease the worries and demands of farmers that constitute a majority of their voting base," The U.S. agricultural attache argues.