Pulse Impulse Needed
India is the largest producer and the largest consumer of pulses and is working very hard to shed the tag of being the largest importer of pulses. All kinds of dal are an important part of the diet of Indians, from `dal-roti’ to `idli-sambhar’ to `chole-bhatura’ all have some pulses as an important ingredient. For the very large vegetarian population of India pulses are the most important source of proteins. Pigeon Pea or Arhar, to lentils or masoor, to chick pea or channa all pulse crops are invariably grown on poor soils in rain fed conditions. Pulses belong to the family of legumes and these are unique plants that can fix atmospheric nitrogen hence require much less urea to fertilize the fields. The rhizobia on the roots help enrich the soil and hence legume crops are widely used as short duration inter-crop varietal additions in the rice-wheat cultivation cycle. India has been importing large quantities of pulses from Canada, Myanmar, and parts of Africa, in the last fiscal India imported 2.2 million tons of pulses to fulfil the domestic requirement. Scientists are working to provide shorter duration, high yielding and pest resistant varieties of pulses. Pulses are well known to be climate smart crops as the carbon and water footprint of the per kilogram protein provided by these plants in comparison to non-vegetarian sources of protein is very small and hence they are often called magical plants. To meet India’s burgeoning appetite for quality proteins a pulse impulse is needed to make the country fully self-reliant in pulse production.