The Centre on Friday cut import duty
to 10 per cent while reducing it by 5 per cent on crude
as well as refined palm oils, to boost supplies and check prices during the upcoming festival season.
The import duty
has been reduced from 25 per cent to 10 per cent till February 2017.
The government reduced import duty
on palm oil from 12.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent for crude
palm oil of edible grade, and from 20 per cent to 15 per cent for refined palm oil of edible grade.
In case of wheat, the government has reduced the import duty
despite higher domestic production at 93.50 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June).
The food ministry had proposed the cut in wheat import duty
as its procurement dropped sharply to 22.9 million tonnes this year, raising concerns about the domestic availability.
The flour millers had demanded withdrawal of the import duty
citing 5 million tonnes shortfall in the domestic output.
Hailing the decision, Roller Flour Millers Federation of India Secretary Veena Sharma said: "This will improve the supply and check price rise."
Concerned over rising retail prices amid production shortfall, the government reduced the import duty
on potatoes to improve the domestic availability.
According to the official data, potato
output has declined by 9 per cent to 43.7 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) compared with 48 million tonnes last year.
"Edible oil is not contributing to inflation. However, if the government was so much concerned, it should have reduced import duty
only on crude
palm oil and not refined palm oil," SEA
Executive Director B V Mehta told PTI.
He said higher duty difference between crude
and refined palm oil would have encouraged domestic refining.
India is heavily dependent on import of cooking oils and is all set to import record 15 million tonnes in the current 2015-16 oil year ending October.