Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that currently, crude palm oil is freely importable while refined palm oil has been put under the restricted category.
There is no proposal to impose a restriction on import of any item from Malaysia currently, Parliament was informed on Friday. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that currently, crude palm oil is freely importable while refined palm oil has been put under the restricted category.
But, this restriction is applicable for imports from all countries, he said.
“At present, there is no proposal to impose a restriction on import of any item from Malaysia,” Goyal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
Indonesia and Malaysia are major suppliers of palm oil to India.
The move to put a restriction on refined palm oil comes in the backdrop of remarks by Malaysia on the new citizenship law and Kashmir issue.
On December 20 last year, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad had reportedly said, “I am sorry to see that India, which claims to be a secular state, is now taking action to deprive some Muslims of their citizenship.”
“If we do that here, you know what will happen. There will be chaos, there will be instability and everyone will suffer,” he had said.
Replying to a separate question, the minister said India needs 25 million tonnes of edible oils to meet its requirement at the current consumption level of 19 kg per person per year.
Out of the total requirement, 10.50 million tonne is produced domestically from primary (soybean, rapeseed & mustard, groundnut, sunflower, safflower and niger) and secondary sources (oil palm, coconut, rice bran, cotton seeds and tree-borne oilseeds), and the remaining 60 per cent is met through import.
“The oilseed production of the country has been growing impressively. Despite this, there exists a gap between the demand and supply of oilseeds, which has necessitated sizeable quantities of imports,” he said.
The major challenges in oilseed production is largely rainfed conditions (70 per cent area), high seed cost (groundnut and soybean), small holding with limited resources, low seed replacement rate and low productivity, he added.
He also said that to increase domestic availability and reduce import dependency, a National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO) is proposed for the next five years (2020-21 to 2024-25).
Further, he said the action points to be initiated to increase production and productivity of oilseeds and promotion of secondary sources of edible oils include increasing seed replacement rate and varietal replacement rate, promotion of oilseed in rice fallow or potato areas, promotion of oilseeds through inter-cropping, extending oilseed cultivation in non-traditional area, and targeting 100 low-productivity districts.