The government on Thursday said it has imposed 30% import duty on chana (chickpeas) and masoor (lentils) with immediate effect to avoid cheap imports given the prospects of high production during the forthcoming Rabi season. The government may also effect a further hike in import duty on wheat from the current 20%. Last month, the government had doubled the import duty on the cereal to curb cheap shipments and give positive price signal to farmers in the Rabi season. Currently, tur and yellow peas attract 10% and 50% import duty respectively while other pulses attract zero import duty. “There has been a record production of pulses in the current year. However, despite sufficient domestic availability, imports of pulses continue to take place on account of low prevailing international prices. Such imports suppress the domestic prices of pulses and adversely affect the interest of farmers,” the government said in a statement.
As for import duty on wheat, it was raised after private traders imported about 1 million tonne of the produce since April at 10% duty. According to government data, wheat acreage declined to 245.50 lakh hectare as on December 15 in the ongoing Rabi season from 250.48 lakh hectare during the corresponding period of the previous year. India’s wheat production stood at record 98.38 million tonne in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June).