The move to remove export duty on de-oiled rice bran cake is unlikely to impact the fortunes of the vegetable oil industry. Finance minister P Chidambaram has proposed to remove the 10 per cent export duty on it.
"Though India exports a very small quantity of de-oiled rice bran, the move will make us competitive in the international market. Normally, about 200,000 tonnes of de-oiled rice bran gets exported amounting to around Rs 175-200 crore," said B V Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors' Association of India. "The budget, otherwise, has been a disappointment for the oil sector with no measures being made to cut imports of edible oils. A hike in import duty was needed to safeguard farmers," said Mehta.
According to him, India imported around 10 million tonnes (mt) of edible oils last year. This year, imports are likely to surge further to around 11 mt.
"There was an apprehension among the industry of an increase in import duty on edible oils. But probably due to inflation concerns, the finance minister avoided to take any such decision," said Atul Chaturvedi, chief executive officer, Adani Wilmar.
The finance minister, however, has withdrawn the exemption given to soybean oil and olive oils from education cess and secondary and higher education cess, which is three per cent of import duty.
"This means the present 2.5 per cent import duty on crude soyabean oil will go up by 0.08 per cent to 2.58 per cent. This would translate into around $1 per tonne of soya oil import," said Mehta.