Millennium Post

RSS body wants govt to impose 30% import duty on pulses

Concerned over declining prices of pulses produced domestically due to cheap imports, an RSS- affiliated body today urged the government to impose a 30 per cent import duty on them to help safeguard farmers' interests.

In a letter to Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch has asked her to step in while fearing that the country's food security will be at the mercy of international markets.

It said unless the government imposes customs duty on pulses, the situation may turn worse and farmers would be disinclined to produce more pulses domestically, due to poor productivity and low prices. Manch national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan told Sitharaman that her Ministry has exempted import of pulses from paying the 10 percent imports duty which has led to large-scale imports at lower prices.

Mahajan said the custom duty exemption notification on pulses expired on March 31 and urged the government not to issue a fresh notification for continuing with the exemption.

"I take this opportunity to urge you to kindly not pronounce any such notification of exemption from duty, after lapse of this notification.

"Thereafter kindly impose at least 30 percent duty to safeguard the interest of the farmers and for the food security of the nation," he said. The Manch said the exemption of pulses from import duty, done to support domestic supplies and keep prices of pulses low for consumers, does not have relevance now as domestic prices of the commodity have come down. It said it is unfortunate that due to zero duty import of pulse traders have flooded the market with yellow peas.
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