The government has reduced the import duty on masoor dal by 20 per cent till October-end, a move aimed at increasing availability in the domestic market. A notification of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has amended a June 2017 notification “so as to reduce” the basic customs duty on lentil (masoor dal) for the period from September 18, 2020 to October 31, 2020″.
The import duty on lentil has been reduced from 30 per cent to 10 per cent from countries other than the US. In the case of import of the lentil from the US, the duty has been brought down to 30 per cent from the earlier 50 per cent.
n June also, the import duty was cut to 10 per cent for the shipments originating from any country other than the US till August 31. In case of the US, the customs duty was brought down to 30 per cent from 50 per cent.
The reduced customs duty was applicable during the period June 2 to August 31, 2020. The duty was restored to previous level from September 1. India is the world’s largest consumer and importer of pulses.
The country’s total pulses production during 2019-20 crop year (July-June) stood at 23.15 million tonnes as against 22.08 million tonne in the previous year, as per the government’s estimates. Of this, the lentil output is estimated to have declined to 1.18 million tonne from 1.23 million tonne in the 2018-19 crop year.
Reacting to the development, Indian Pulses & Grains Association Vice Chairman Bimal Kothari said the government should have a consistent import policy. He said the duty cut announced in June benefitted foreign farmers and traders as global prices of lentil rose after India reduced the import duty.
Kothari said the country imported about 25 lakh tonnes of pulses last fiscal to meet domestic demand and out of that 8.5 lakh tonne was lentil. He pegged the imports of lentil to rise to 10 lakh tonnes this fiscal, although the overall inwards shipments might come down to 20 lakh tonnes.PTI