Agri Business

Farm costs panel moots 10% import duty on pulses

Vishwanath Kulkarni New Delhi | Updated on November 11, 2012

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Will enhance domestic output by bringing more irrigated areas under pulses, says panel

The Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) has suggested 10 per cent import duty on pulses to encourage domestic production. It has also recommended opening up of pulses exports to create a neutral trade policy.

Currently, there is no duty on import of pulses, while exports of many pulses are banned. Terming the restrictive exports and duty-free imports as pro-consumer, CACP in its latest report, ‘Price Policy for Rabi Crops’, said such a policy was not in the interest of producers.

CACP says that imposing 10 per cent duty on imports would enhance domestic output by bringing more irrigated areas under pulses. Indirectly, such a move would result in saving on fertiliser subsidy as pulses are nitrogen fixing and help in stabilising production.

Largest importer

Further, the levy of import duty would help contain the rising import bill on pulses. India imported pulses worth Rs 8,767 crore or $1.8 billion in 2011-12, an increase of 16.4 per cent over the previous year. India is the largest producer, importer and consumer of pulses. The country has been importing 2-3 million tonnes every year for the past few years.

The country has prohibited export of pulses till March 2013, but the ban does not apply to kabuli chana or chickpea, whose exports were freed back in March 2007.

In addition, the ban on export of pulses does not apply to the overseas annual shipments of 10,000 tonnes of organic pulses and lentils.

India produced 17 million tonnes of pulses in 2011-12. This crop year, kharif output of pulses is projected to decline to 5.26 million tonnes against 6.16 million tonnes last season on account of delayed monsoon hitting output in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

> vishwanath.kulkarni@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 11, 2012

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