Govt imposes 30% import tax on chana, masoor

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New Delhi, Dec 21: The government today imposed a hefty 30 per cent import duty on chana and masoor dal to curb cheaper shipments and boost local prices that have fallen in view of record domestic production. "To protect interest of farmers, the government has decided to impose 30 per cent import duty on chana and masoor with immediate effect," the finance ministry said. The production of chana and masoor is expected to be high during this rabi season. "... cheap imports, if allowed unabated are likely to adversely affect the farmers," the ministry said, while giving reason to raise import duty. At present, tur dal attracts 10 per cent import duty. Further, the government has recently imposed 50 per import duty on yellow peas. Other pulses, however, attract zero duty. "There has been a record production of pulses in the current year. However, despite sufficient domestic availability, import of pulses continue to take place on account of low prevailing international prices. Such imports suppress the domestic prices of pulses and adversely affect the interest of farmers," the statement said. India is the largest producer of pulses in the world. Pulses output stood at an all-time high of about 23 million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June). Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak had recently said the country's pulses production will be at last year's level. Area under pulses was 138.19 lakh hectares so far in this rabi season as against 127.02 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.