Last December, the government had reduced customs duty on wheat to zero from 10 per cent to boost domestic availability.
New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday imposed 10 per cent import duty on wheat and tur dal to protect farmer’s interest by curbing cheap imports into the country.
India, which is world's second-biggest wheat producer, is looking to hinder wheat imports at a time when farmers are harvesting their crops.
Last December, the government had reduced customs duty on wheat to zero from 10 per cent to boost domestic availability and check retail prices.
“Within two months of reduction in customs duty, about 30-40 lakh tonnes of wheat have been imported while more than 55 lakh tonnes of wheat has been imported during financial year 2016-17,” said Ritesh Kumar Sahu, analyst (agri commodities), Angel Broking.
Mr Sahu said that currently, wheat harvesting is progressing and high volumes of new supplies are reaching markets of MP, Gujarat and UP.
“New season wheat supplies have dragged prices below the minimum support prices (MSP) of Rs 1,625 per quintal declared for wheat produced during 2016/17.
Minister of State for finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said a notification dated March 17, 2012 has further been amended so as to “impose basic customs duty of 10 per cent 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 said.
As per the government's second estimate, wheat production is estimated at record 96.64 million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) as against 92.29 million tonnes in 2015-16 on the back of a good monsoon.
Similarly, tur dal production is estimated to be 4.23 million tonnes as against 2.56 million tonnes in the said period.