The government of India has cut import duty on wheat, potatoes, and crude and refined palm oils ahead of the festival season to ensure prices remain under check. On Sept. 23, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) issued notification to cut import duty on potatoes to 10 per cent from 30 per cent until October 2016.
Import duty on wheat has been lowered to 10 per cent from 25 per cent until February 2017. Import duty on crude palm oil of edible grade has been lowered to 7.5 per cent from 12.5 per cent, while for refined palm oil of edible grade it has come down to 15 per cent from 20 per cent.
Import duty on wheat has been lowered despite higher domestic production at 93.50 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June). The food ministry suggested the duty cut because procurement dropped to 22.9 million tonnes despite high production. Wholesale inflation in wheat has risen marginally to 7.27 per cent in August from 5.89 per cent in March.
In the case of potatoes, inflation was running at 66.7 per cent, prompting the reduction in import duty. Potato output fell to 43.7 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year from 48 million tonnes last year.