Interview – Disappointment over no hike in import duties on refined oil

Atul Chaturvedi

Atul Chaturvedi

Atul Chaturvedi is CEO of Adani Wilmar Limited (AWL), a joint venture between Adani group and Singapore’s Wilmar International. He speaks on the Indian Budget 2016-17.

What is your reaction to the budget in your capacity as the vice-president of the Solvent Extractors’ Association?

Nothing exciting as far as edible oil sector is concerned. It is business as usual for this sector. Nothing is changed for us in this sector.

What was your expectation?

We were anticipating that the government will increase the import duties on refined oils in line with the stated opinion of the prime minister on ‘Make in India’. But that has not happened. We have also not heard of any move either to open up oilseeds import by reducing the duty.

How crucial is duty restructuring?

That duty on refined oil has not been touched despite the differential between crude and refined at 7.5 per cent, that’s a little bit of a disappointment because the refining industry in India is running at much lower than its capacity of 30 million tonnes.

The refined palmolein is being imported aggressively by India as the Indonesian government has been putting more thrust on value-added refined oil products than crude oil. That is where we thought the government should have acted positively.

How do you view the budget, which focuses on agriculture and rural development?

The investment plan and announcement made for the agriculture sector is quite welcome. There is certain amount of seriousness in the government in terms of improving irrigation. However, it is silent on biotechnology.

The agriculture sector is now being seriously looked into by the government. First, there is thrust on irrigation and second, crop insurance. These two things should help improve the life of rural folks and the farming community. The agriculture sector was in a terrible mess in last two years due to inclement weather and poor rains. However, implementation is key to all such schemes.

Pulses are a concern after tur dal prices rose to Rs 200 per kg?

Creation of a buffer stock for pulses is a step in the right direction. This will ensure that the runaway price rise that happens at times does not take place.

Finally, the government allowed 100 percent FDI in retail. Any comments?

This will help improve standards in the country. It will lead to good manufacturing practices by the Indian food processors. When the companies will come, it will also help farmers to improve field practices and post-harvest handling of fruits and vegetables. That is one area where the fruits & vegetable sector lacks terribly now.




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