Govt may consider imposing duty on wheat imports: Paswan
The Dollar Business Bureau
The government is considering imposing imports duty on wheat in order to protect the interests of farmers amidst expectations of a record production this year, said Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Food and Public Distribution.
On December 8, the government had reduced the customs duty on wheat imports to nil from 10% in order to boost its availability in the domestic market and to check retail prices.
The Minister said that there would be a bumper crop of wheat this year and the ministry has set a target of procuring 33 million tonnes of grain in the marketing year 2017-18, which starts from April.
the new crop of wheat will start coming into the market from March, said Paswan, while adding that the government has made adequate arrangements to buy wheat from farmers and will take all measures to make sure that minimum support price (MSP) will be provided to farmers.
“The way this government has taken measures in the case of pulses and farmers are getting the MSP, all possible steps will be taken for wheat-growing farmers. If needed, raising import duty will be considered,” Paswan said in a statement.
The Minister said the government had cut the duty on wheat imports in December last year in order to protect the interests of the consumers.
“Within 2 months of reducing the customs duty, around 30-40 lakh tonnes of the grain has been shipped into the country. Over 55 lakh tonnes of wheat have been imported in the current financial year,” he said.
The wheat production in the country is projected at a record 96.64 million tonnes in the crop year 2016-17 (July-June) compared to 92.29 million tonnes in the previous crop year on account of a good monsoon this year.
Previously, the record production was 95.85 million tonnes in the crop year 2013-14.