The government could consider increasing the import duty on wheat from the present 10%.
Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said in the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour that the government could look at increasing the import duty if required.
He was responding to JD(U) member Harivansh’s statement that despite the government imposing an import duty, the importers were reportedly finding buying of wheat from abroad cheaper.
Singh said that for the first time, import duty had been imposed by the present government. It was removed last year in view of the shortage of wheat, he said, adding that the duty was introduced to up to 10%.
In his reply tabled in the House, Singh said the “government has raised import duty on wheat from zero to 10% with effect from 28, March, 2017.
Speaking about pulses, the Agriculture Minister said that a bumper crop was expected this time, but it would still be less than the demand. He said that steps had been taken to encourage domestic purchase of ‘tur dal’.
He also said that a committee has submitted a report on the process through which Minimum Support Price (MSP) is determined may be revised. “The ministry is already considering the suggestions of the committee,” Singh said.
Congress member Jairam Ramesh had asked Singh to review the cost of production of wheat so that the right MSP could be set. He said to increase the income of farmers, measures like providing irrigation and seeds were too important.
Often it is seen that various states spend less on farmers than what is earmarked, Ramesh said.
To this, Singh said “we are going to release data on how different states have released the money, which was meant for the welfare of the farmers.”