Centre allows export of pulses, imposes QR on import of some varieties to help farmers
The trade policy measures include 60 per cent import duty on chickpeas, 50 per cent on yellow peas and raising import duty on lentils to 30 per cent from 10 per cent.
In addition, the government had imposed quantitative restrictions of up to 2 lakh tonnes per year on import of pigeon pea (tur) from August 5, 2017, up to 3 lakh tonnes on urad and moong from August 21, 2017 and up to 1 lakh tonne on import of peas for three months up till June 2018. At the same time, an incentive of 7 per cent under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) has been sanctioned for export of chana.
Import of pulses had declined by 10 lakh tonnes from 66 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 to 56.5 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 resulting in saving of foreign exchange amounting to Rs 9,775 crore, official sources said.
The import duty on palm oil, which constitutes around 60 per cent of edible oil imports, has been gradually raised. The import duty on crude and refined palm oil were raised from 12.5 per cent in 2015 to 44 per cent now and from 20 per cent in 2015 to 54 per cent respectively in 2018. The import duty on crude sunflower, mustard and rapeseed oil has been raised to 25 per cent and for refined sunflower, mustard and rapeseed oil to 35 per cent.
Restriction on export of all types of edible oils (except mustard oil) has been lifted so as to encourage export of indigenous edible oils. The duty difference between crude and refined edible oils was increased to encourage cultivation of oilseeds crops in the country and to encourage 'made in India'. As a result of the these initiatives, import of refined vegetable oils has come down from 29.4 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 to 27.8 lakh tonnes in 2017-18, the sources said.
Decline of domestic prices of soyabean were arrested due to increase in MEIS benefits for soya meal from 5 per cent to 7 per cent.
Among other measures is the enhancement of import duty on wheat increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent last November as a result of which wheat import declined by about 72 per cent in 2017-18 over 2016-17.
The export of several agricultural produce picked up during last year such as Basmati rice (24 per cent), non-Basmati rice (35 per cent), spices (5 per cent) and marine products (20 per cent) in value terms. The export growth of agriculture and allied products grew by 10. 5 per cent during 2017-18.
In the past four years, export of marine products grew by 95 per cent, non-Basmati rice by 84 per cent, fresh fruits by 77 per cent, cereal preparations by 64 per cent, buffalo meat by 63 per cent and processed foods by 54 per cent. Exports of fresh vegetables, spices, cashew and coffee also grew.
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