Govt doubles import duty on sugar to 100%, hikes duty on chana to 40%
New Delhi :The government doubled import duty on sugar to 100% and raised duty on chana to 40% to protect domestic farmers. At present, customs duty or import tax on sugar is 50% and that on chana (chickpeas) is 30%. The move is aimed at curbing cheaper imports and ensure remunerative prices to domestic growers. The notification issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) “seeks to increase import duty on all types of sugar (raw sugar, refined or white sugar) from the present 50% to 100%”. The higher tax has been imposed with immediate effect and without an end date, it added. The sugar industry has been demanding hike in import duty as ex-mill rates have fallen below the cost of production, affecting their ability to make cane payment to farmers on time. India’s sugar production estimate has been recently revised upwards by 4% to 26.1 million tonnes (MT) in the current 2017-18 marketing year (October-September) as against 20.3 MT in 2016-17, as per industry data. The consumption is pegged at 25 MT for this year. In case of chana, the government has raised import duty to 40% as it wants to contain inward shipments in view of record production of pulses to nearly 23 million tonnes this year. Already, the government has imposed quantitative restrictions on many varieties of pulses. As per the government data, the country has imported 50.8 lakh tonnes of pulses during April-December of this fiscal, while it has 1.8 million tonnes of pulses in its buffer stock.