Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday said the government has no immediate plans to further hike wheat import duty from the existing 10 per cent. On March 28, an import duty of 10 per cent was imposed on wheat to curb shipments in view of record domestic output at around 97.44 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June). Prior to that, there was no duty at all for nearly four months. “There are no immediate plans to increase import duty on wheat,” Paswan told reporters.
There are adequate supplies in the domestic market in view of the bumper crop in 2016-17, he added. Wheat import has not been much after the Customs duty was imposed. Prior to that, private traders had imported about 5.5 million tonnes at zero Customs duty till March-end, according to industry data. Global prices of wheat are currently ruling high. For instance, prices of Australian wheat – which India normally imports — have gone up by 15-20 per cent due to likely lower crop. Some quantity of wheat from Ukraine is being imported, traders said.
The government has sufficient wheat stock as it has procured 30.8 million tonnes of the 2016-17 crop and prices are also ruling stable in the range of Rs 18-20 per kg in wholesale markets.