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Govt imposes 10% import duty on wheat, tur dal to protect farmers' interest

[ March 29, 2017 ]

New Delhi: Government on Tuesday re-imposed 10 percent import duty on wheat and tur dal with immediate effect.

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.

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan last had last week said that the government wanted to bring back import duty on wheat to protect farmers' interest.

In 2015, a customs duty of 25 percent was levied on wheat which was subsequently cut to 10 percent and totally removed in December last year.

The duty was cut following fears of a spike in prices as wheat output had dropped due to hail storm, he said, adding the crop production this year has been at a record 96.64 million tons besides 6.5 million tons been in stockpile.

The permission for duty-free imports had encouraged private traders to buy more than 5 million tonnes of wheat since mid-2016 to meet a supply shortfall left by two years of drought.

Most flour millers and biscuit makers imported wheat from France, Ukraine and Australia.

Both large imports and forecasts of a bumper crop prompted the government to impose the tax, the sources said.

The farm ministry last month forecast wheat output at 96.64 million tonnes in 2017, up from 92.29 million tonnes last year.