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Govt comfortable with domestic tur stock, import duty cut unlikely

Wednesday, Jun 3, 2020

 

By Kaushal Verma

 

NEW DELHI – The Centre does not see the need to slash the import duty on tur due to the comfortable level of stocks and strong supply prospects, a government official said.

 

"The government is seeing sufficient stocks of tur as of now and don't warrant a duty cut. However, the final call on the import duty change is yet to be taken," the official said. Currently, the import duty on tur is 10%.  

 

The industry has demanded a cut in import duties of masur and tur to boost stocks and cool off soaring prices in domestic markets, he said.

 

On Tuesday, the government cut the import duty on masur to 10% from 30% to check the rising prices. However, the government feels there is no pressing case to cut the import duty on tur yet, the official said.

 

Tur production in 2019-20 (Jul-Jun) was pegged at 3.75 mln tn, up from 3.32 mln last year, farm ministry data showed.

 

The government has also allowed the import of 200,000 tn of tur and other pulses in the current financial year, up from 175,000 tn last year, from Mozambique, according to a notice released by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade on Monday.

 

These shipments from Mozambique will exceed the cap on imports announced earlier. During March end, the government has maintained the annual import quota for tur at 400,000 tn for 2020-21 (Apr-Mar), he said.

 

Expectations of upbeat output in 2020-21 as normal rains are expected this year would add to the domestic stock, said Jitu Bheda, chairman of India Pulses and Grains Association.

 

Tur prices are higher in retail markets only because of logistical issues and not the lack of availability. In wholesale markets, prices of the legume are still hovering below the minimum support price of 5,800 rupees per 100 kg, Bheda said.

 

In the retail market, tur dal fetches 94 rupees per kg, up from 62 rupees before the lockdown, and in key wholesale markets, prices are around 53-55 rupees per kg, according to the price monitoring cell data compiled by the consumer affairs ministry.

 

Tur imports from less developed countries, primarily Africa, don't attract any duty. 

 

India is the world's largest consumer of pulses with annual consumption of around 26 mln tn. Its domestic demand always surpasses production of about 23 mln tn annually, and the country meets rest of its demand through imports.  End

 

Edited by Nidhi Chugh

 

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