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New Delhi, Oct. 7

Import of sensitive items during April-July 2010 was Rs 23,039 crore, a 21.8 per cent increase over Rs 18,916 crore during the corresponding period of last year, a statement by the Commerce and Industry Ministry said on Thursday.

Import of food grains jumped 3100 per cent to Rs 111.7 crore in April-July 2010 from just Rs 3.5 crore last year. This is mainly due to import of wheat by flour millers in south India.

Import of milk and milk products in the period under review was Rs 370.4 crore, a 324.5 per cent increase from only Rs 87.3 crore in the same period last year. In March, the Government had allowed duty-free imports of up to 15,000 tonnes of butter oil and 30,000 tonnes of milk powder, anticipating shortfalls in milk supplies to cities ahead of the summer season.

Edible oil import grew 18.9 per cent to Rs 8,763.7 crore during April-July this fiscal from Rs 7,371 crore last year. A significant feature of edible oil import is that import of crude oil has gone up by 25.9 per cent to Rs 7,958.6 crore (Rs 6,319.8 crore), while imports of refined oil have fallen by 23.4 per cent to Rs 805.1 crore (Rs 1,051.3 crore). The increase in edible oil import is mainly due to substantial increase in import of soya-bean crude oil, the statement said.

Among those other sensitive items whose import growth has increased during the period under reference include automobiles (87.4 per cent to Rs 634.1 crore), fruits and vegetables including nuts (up 10.8 per cent to Rs 2,178.3 crore), rubber (41.6 per cent to Rs 875.6 crore), products of SSI (62.8 per cent to Rs 438.6 crore), spices (11.9 per cent to Rs 302.7 crore), alcoholic beverages (85.2 per cent to Rs 147.4 crore), marble and granite (21 per cent to Rs 144.1 crore).

Food inflation for the week ended September 25 was 16.24 per cent, mainly because of soaring prices of milk, fruits and vegetables.

On the other hand, items whose imports have declined for the period under review include pulses (down 10 per cent to Rs 2,485.2 crore), cotton and silk (down 16.6 per cent to Rs 658.1 crore) as well as tea and coffee (fall of 2.4 per cent to Rs 90.2 crore).

The gross import of all commodities during same period of current year was Rs 5,15,617 crore (Rs 4,09,518 crore), it said. Thus import of sensitive items constitutes 4.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent of the gross imports during last year and current year respectively.

Imports of sensitive items such as milk, food grains, beverages and automobiles are monitored by the Government to find out if these have any adverse impact on the local industries.

Imports of sensitive items from Indonesia, China, Argentina, Korea, Brazil, the US, Germany, Cote D' Ivoire, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Czech Republic have gone up while those from Myanmar, Malaysia, Ukraine, Canada, Japan and Benin have gone down.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 8, 2010)
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