India. 10% import duty to be levied on wheat, pulses

29.03.2017

Farmers are expecting a bumper crop for wheat.Farmers are expecting a bumper crop for wheat.

Expecting record foodgrain production this crop year (July, 2016-June, 2017), the Centre on Tuesday imposed 10% import duty on wheat and tur or arhar dal (pigeon pea) with immediate effect— a move which is aimed at protecting interest of farmers as prices of pulses fell below the minimum support price (MSP) across key producing states.

The decision will help curb the fall in the wholesale prices of tur dal and ensure MSP to farmers during ongoing procurement drive. Tur dal is grown in summer season. Its good production during last kharif (summer) season had led to fall in wholesale prices. Since the farmers are expecting bumper wheat production, the move will also help them getting good price of their produce during post-harvest procurement.

Though new wheat crop has already started arriving in 'mandis' in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the harvest in other states will start in coming weeks. This is for the first time in a decade when the government has imposed import duty on tur or arhar dal, as it had been pursuing zero duty on imports of pulses since 2006.

Announcing the decision in the Lok Sabha, the minister of state for finance, Arjun Ram Meghwal, on Tuesday said a notification dated March 17, 2012 has further been amended to "impose basic customs duty of 10% on wheat and tur, with immediate effect''. The estimated revenue implication of this decision is about Rs 840 crore at the current levels of imports, he added.

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The government had in December last year reduced the custom duty on wheat to zero from 10% to boost domestic availability and check retail prices. As per the agriculture ministry's latest estimate, wheat production is estimated at a record 96.64 million tonnes (MT) in the 2016-17 crop year against 92.29 MT in 2015-16.

Similarly, production of tur dal is estimated to be 4.23 MT against 2.56 MT. Overall foodgrain production this year is estimated at 271.98 MT which is also an all-time record.


indiatimes

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