Ram Vilas Paswan ministry is in favour of increasing import duty on tur dal from 10 per cent to 25 per cent in the interest of farmers, said the Food and Consumer minister on Monday.
Paswan's comments follow a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devender Fadnavis who sought hike in customs duty ontur dal saying farmers are struggling to get even the minimum support price (MSP) because of record output.
The Centre had last month imposed import duty of 10 percent on tur dal do protect domestic growers. "Maharashtra CM has demanded increase in tur dal importduty to 25 per cent.
I agree that there should be higher dutyon tur dal. We will discuss and recommend it to the FinanceMinistry," Paswan told reporters after the meeting.
The Food Ministry too had proposed 25 per cent importduty on tur dal but only 10 per cent was imposed, he said. Higher import duty is necessary to curb sale of cheaperimported dals as domestic produce at the minimum support price(MSP) to the government agencies, he added.
Paswan said government agencies are procuring pulses forbuffer stock. It is buying at MSP and the deadline forprocurement of summer (kharif) sown pulses was till April 22.
In the meeting, the Maharashtra Chief Minister demandedfurther extension of pulses procurement which was denied bythe Centre saying that farmers are no more getting theirKharif produce and it was only traders and importers.
"We have informed that it is not possible to extend thetime for procurement. Now, farmers are not getting theirproduce to mandis, it is only traders who are importing at acheaper rate and selling to us at the MSP," Paswan said.
Paswan, however, assured that the central government willsee if the quantity that has already arrived till April 22could be procured or not.
The government agencies like NAFED and FCI have procuredhighest quantity of 3.5 lakh tonnes of tur dal fromMaharasthra this year. The state wants 50,000 to 1,00,000tonnes more to be procured by these agencies.
The Maharashtra government also requested the centre tocome out with long term strategy to address the supply-demandgap in pulses and this was accepted by the Food Ministry.
The country's tur dal production is estimated to be 4.23million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) as against2.56 million tonnes in the year-ago period. Tur dal is grownin summer (kharif) season.
Wholesale rate of tur dal has come under pressure due tohigher output and in some places farmers are not getting eventhe MSP.