The Central government on Friday cut the import duty on wheat, edible grade crude and refined palm oils and potato to keep prices in check ahead of the festival season.

The import duty on wheat was cut by 15 percentage points to 10 per cent till the end of February to boost domestic supplies. The government also lowered the import duty on edible grade crude palm oil to 7.5 per cent from 12.5 per cent and that on refined palm oil to 15 per cent from 20 per cent.

The import duty on potato has been slashed to 10 per cent from 30 per cent.

The reduced import duty is likely to allow more wheat to be imported by increasing the viability of the transaction for traders.

The Central government is satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest to make the amendment, a Finance Ministry notification on the reduction in import duties stated.

Although global prices are low, Indian consumers have not been able to take advantage of because of the high import duties.

Following two years of drought, production levels are much below the peak levels in India and stocks have depleted, pushing up prices in the domestic market.

India has already bought about 600,000 tonnes of wheat in 2016, the most in nine years. According to estimates made by traders, imports may rise to 3 million tonnes following the reduction in import duties.