Cereals are the major source of protein in the Indian diet. In recent years, due to declining preference the consumption of cereals is decreasing in spite of increasing output. Therefore, the country needs to further increase the production and encourage the intake of pulses in order to meet the nutritional requirements of the population, specifically in terms of protein consumption.
This paper discusses the trends in pulses and protein consumption over the years. It uses a seemingly unrelated regression estimation (SURE) framework to study the price and income effect on protein from different sources: cereals and pulses (plant sources), milk and milk products (dairy sources), and animal sources such as eggs, fish and meat, and other sources of protein. Further, it focuses on the substitutability and complementarity between the various sources of protein, with emphasis on plant sources such as cereals and pulses. It finds that the expenditure on protein is large and significant. Higher disposable incomes have led to higher demand of animal sources of protein. As the price of cereals decreases, an increase in the consumption of protein from pulses is observed. As the price of pulses increases, the sample shifts to consumption of protein from animal sources and milk and milk products. It becomes important to contain volatility in pulses prices, given that it is
a major source of plant protein. States that distribute pulses in the public distribution system (PDS) show higher consumption of protein than other states.