NEW DELHI: The Government is considering imposing import duty on wheat in order to protect farmers amid projections of a record output this year, Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said recently.
On December 8, the Government had reduced customs duty on wheat to zero from 10 per cent to boost domestic availability and check retail prices.
"Whether to propose import duty on wheat is in the final stage of consideration. The Ministry is considering it. That is under process," Pattanayak said.
Asked about wheat prices, the Secretary said, "Prices at present are ruling above the minimum support price (MSP). State-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) is going to procure on a massive scale to ensure the MSP to farmers."
Last month, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said: "The way this Government has taken measures in the case of pulses and farmers are getting the MSP, all possible steps will be taken for wheat-growing farmers. If needed, raising import duty will be considered."
"Within two months of reduction in customs duty, 30-40 lakh tonnes of wheat has been imported. More than 55 lakh tonnes of wheat has been imported during this (financial) year," he had said.