Govt levies 30% import duty on Chana, Masoor
The Dollar Business Bureau
In order to protect the interests of farmers, the Government on Thursday imposed an import duty of 30% on masoor (red lentil) and chana (chickpeas) to support domestic prices.
Earlier, there was no import duty on these pulse varieties and these could be freely imported.
“The Government has decided to impose 30% import duty on chana (chickpeas) and masoor (lentils), with immediate effect,” Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
“Production of chana and masoor is expected to be high during the forthcoming Rabi season, and cheap imports, if allowed unabated, are likely to adversely affect the interest of the farmers,” it added.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture data, plantings of gram were 14% higher on yearly basis till the end of last week. On account of higher plantings, the prices of chana in wholesale market dropped from around Rs.6,000 per quintal in May-June 2017 to nearly Rs.4,500 presently.
For protecting the farmers’ interest, the Government has come to a decision to hike the said import duty, the statement said.
“There has been a record production of pulses in the current year,” it said.
Chana contributes around 40% of the yearly pulses production in India, which sharply increased during the last fiscal to a record 23 million tonnes, an increase of about 40%, resulting in a collapse of farm gate prices.
Currently, there is a 10% duty on the imports of tur. In addition, the Government has recently levied a duty of 50% on the imports of yellow peas. However, other pulses attract zero import duty, the statement said.
In spite of sufficient availability in the domestic market, pulses imports continue to take place due to low prices prevailing in the international market. Therefore, such imports impact the prices of pulses in domestic market and adversely affect the farmers’ interest, it said.
India imported $629 million worth of lentils and $907 million of chickpeas in the financial year 2016-17.