The government today imposed 10 per cent import duty on wheat and tur dal with immediate effect in a bid to protect farmers’ interest, amid projection of a record crop this year. On December 8, the government had reduced customs duty on wheat to zero from 10 per cent to boost domestic availability and check retail prices. There has been nil duty on tur dal.
Announcing the decision in the Lok Sabha, 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.The move will help curb sharp fall in the wholesale prices of these two commodities and ensure support price to farmers who are expecting a good crop.
The new wheat crop, has started arriving in mandis in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. 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. Tur dal is grown in summer (kharif) season.
It may be noted that wholesale rate of tur dal has come under pressure due to higher output and in some places farmers are not getting even the minimum support prices.