NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 11:
Following the imposition of annual import ceiling on pigeon peas (tur dal) fixed at two lakh tonne last month in response to the glut in the domestic market, the Centre has allowed an additional 40,000-44,000 tonne of the pulse to be imported.
This has been done to accommodate the orders already paid for by traders prior to the restriction.
“It was brought to the notice of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade that some traders had already given advance to foreign suppliers before the import ceiling was imposed. Since they can’t get their money back they are being allowed to import the contracted amount,” a government official told BusinessLine.
The Centre is of the opinion that the additional imports, beyond the 2 lakh tonne ceiling, would not have a significant impact on prices in the domestic market.
“When the government imposed the import restriction of an annual 2 lakh tonne on tur dal, the import limit had almost been reached. So the additional amount that is coming to the market is just restricted to the 44,000 tonne of pigeon peas that was contracted before the restriction was imposed. There wouldn’t be any further imports,” the official said.
The DGFT, in its trade notification, stated that the relaxation would be given only after it is duly verified that the contracts were entered into and payments made prior to August 5 when the import restriction was imposed.
The import restriction on tur dal was part of the government’s decision to restrict pulses imports (which also included moong) as domestic prices had fallen below the minimum support level. Farmers demanded better prices following a bumper production this year.
The total production of pulses in the country in 2016-17 was a record 22.4 million tonnes compared to 16.35 million tonnes in the previous year.
The fact that the government had imported 30 lakh tonne of pulses, with much of it still lying in the godowns, made the situation worse for Indian farmers.