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    Traders object to govt's recent decision to advance last date of urad import, decrease in duty on masoor

    Synopsis

    Traders said the latest change in import policy for urad (black matpe), which advanced the last date of import by six months to August 2020 from March 2021, led to a sharp increase in international prices because Indian buyers were left with a smaller window for imports.

    Agencies
    A notification issued by the Centre on March 19 allowed import of 400,000 tonnes of urad in India to be completed by March 2021.
    PUNE: Pulses processors have objected to recent changes in the import policy and an industry lobby has shot off a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard.

    Traders said the latest change in import policy for urad (black matpe), which advanced the last date of import by six months to August 2020 from March 2021, led to a sharp increase in international prices because Indian buyers were left with a smaller window for imports.

    Besides, importers alleged that a recent decrease in import duty on masoor would benefit only international traders.

    A notification issued by the Centre on March 19 allowed import of 400,000 tonnes of urad in India to be completed by March 2021. “We had applied to get an import quota and licence based on terms and conditions of this notification,” said Prem Kogta, a dal miller from Maharashtra.

    However, in a meeting held on May 12, the government changed the last date to August 31, 2020. “Majority of millers have not received the licence to import, which means we are left with a short window of less than two months to import urad,” said Suresh Agarwal, president, All India Dal Millers’ Association.

    In a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Agarwal said urad prices in Myanmar increased $80-100 per tonne between May 12 and June 28, and sought restoration of the last date as per the original notification.

    Bimal Kothari, vice president, Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), slammed the government for reducing the effective import duty on masoor to 11% from 33%. “This change in duty should have helped reduce masoor prices by Rs 10-11 per kg in the domestic market. However, it did not reduce the price as Canadian and Australian traders and farmers increased masoor prices overnight. The duty reduction decision helped only international traders, who have large stocks of masoor, make huge profits," said Kothari.

    He, however, welcomed the decision to reduce the import window for urad by six months. “It will help to import and consume imported urad before the arrival of the domestic kharif crop begins. The imported crop will thus not bring down the prices of the local harvest,” said Kothari.
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