Government Reaches Out To Farmers; Imposes 30 Per Cent Import Duty On Gram And Lentil

Prasad Gori/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

In a move to cool the frayed tampers of farmers, the Union government imposed 30 per cent import duty on gram and lentils Thursday.

In a statement, the finance ministry said that the duty has been imposed with immediate effect. The move, which will impact the import of the crops, will help boost local prices which have fallen due to a record domestic production of the two crop varieties in the Kharif season.

"...cheap imports, if allowed unabated are likely to adversely affect the farmers," the ministry said.

The government said that in spite of sufficient domestic availability following a record production of pulses, imports continue because of lower prices in the international market.

“Such imports suppress the domestic prices of pulses and adversely affect the interest of farmers," the statement said.

The government has also decided to set a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 3900 per quintal for Toria, a type of mustard, during the current marketing year (October 2017-September 2018).

On 8 November, the government had imposed an import duty of 20 per cent on wheat and 50 per cent on peas.

At present, split pigeon peas attracts an import duty of 10 per cent. Other pulses, however, attract zero duty.

India is the largest producer of pulses in the world. Pulses output stood at an all-time high of about 23 million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June).

Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak had recently said the country's pulses production will be at last year's level.

Area under pulses was 138.19 lakh hectares so far in this Rabi season as against 127.02 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.

The move is seen in the wake of BJP faring poorly in rural areas in Gujarat in the just-ended elections to the Assembly. It is also an attempt to impress farmers in Rajasthan, which goes to the polls next year. (PTI)

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