The government has doubled the import duty on wheat to 20 percent to curb cheap shipments and give positive price signal to farmers in the ongoing Rabi season. It also imposed an import duty of 50 percent on peas to check cheaper shipments from countries like Canada.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in a notification said that it seeks “to (i) increase rate of basic customs duty on Peas, from present nil rate to 50%. (ii) Increase rate of basic customs duty on wheat from 10% to 20%.”
In March, the government had imposed 10 percent import duty on wheat to contain sharp fall in local prices in view of a bumper crop of 98.38 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).
Saddled with a buffer-stock of 20 lakh tonnes of pulses, the government has decided to use a part of it to meet nutritional requirements under various welfare programmes such as the mid-day meal scheme in schools.
The decision to this effect was taken at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here. It asked the ministries and departments concerned to amend the schemes and assess their requirements for pulses over the next three months.
The supply of pulses from the Central buffer maintained by the Department of Consumers Affairs would commence based on the requirement indicated by these ministries and departments, it said in a release.
“The objective of the approval is to enable the administrative ministries/departments to ensure that pulses from the buffer are utilised as the ‘in kind’ component of the Centre’s contribution in such schemes, in lieu of its financial contribution of an equivalent amount,” it said.
The government, which resorted to large-scale imports due to the shortfall in the production of pulses in 2015 leading to a price hike, has not been able to clear the buffer-stock as there was a bumper production in the subsequent season.
Since then, it has been cajoling various State governments to buy pulses from the buffer- stock.
(Source: CBES and Business Standards)