In an effort to check the rising prices and boost the domestic supply of lentils, the central government has reduced the import duty on masur dal to zero and also halved the Agriculture Infrastructure Development Cess on the lentil to 10 per cent.
A notification for the same was tabled in both houses of the Parliament by the finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. The reduced customs duty and cess will come into effect from 27 July, 2021.
The minister said that the basic customs duty has been reduced from 10 per cent to nil on lentils (masur dal) originated in or exported from countries other than the US.
Also, the basic customs duty has been reduced from 30 percent to 20 percent on lentils (masur dal) originating in or exported from the US, she said.
Moreover, the cess on lentils (masur dal) has been reduced from the present rate of 20 percent to 10 percent, she added.
Already the retail price of masoor dal increased by 30 percent from Rs 70 per kg in April 2021 to Rs 100 per kg now, as per the data maintained by the consumer affairs ministry.
India needs about 25 million tonnes of pulses annually, but shortages were expected this year.
The government had introduced the Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) on certain items, including petrol, diesel, gold and some imported agricultural products, this fiscal in an effort to boost agriculture infrastructure. This reduction comes months after a stretched supply-demand situation with respect to lentils and market, experts believe that the government needs to revisit import duties on the pulse to encourage overseas purchases in the coming months.