Government Allows Duty-free Import Of Crude Soybean

The center has exempted duty and agriculture tax on yearly imports of 20 lakh metric tonnes of crude soybean and sunflower oil, said government sources on Tuesday. 

The duty-free import will be applicable for two financial years (2022-2023, 2023-2024), said the finance ministry. ‚ÄúThis will provide significant relief to the consumers‚ÄĚ, the government source added.¬†

The government sources mentioned that it will come into force from May 25, 2022, and will be applicable until March 31, 2024. 

The announcement was made after the surge in the edible oil price in India. The government was reportedly considering cutting the price of crude oil to reduce the surging price of food. The center had been continuously trying whether to reduce the agriculture infrastructure and development cess from the current rate to 5% or abolish it altogether. 

Last week, the government cut the excise duty on petrol and diesel, giving a little relaxation to the consumers. Besides this, the government waived import duty on some raw materials used in the steel and plastic industry and hiked the export duty on iron ore and iron pellets. 

The hike in the price of all items, from fuel to vegetables and cooking oil, pushed WPI (Wholesale Price Inflation). It was recorded at 15.08% in April and retail inflation to a nearly eight-year high of 7.79%. 

High inflammation pushed the Reserve Bank to call an unscheduled meeting to raise the benchmark interest rate by 40 basis points to 4.40% earlier this month.

India is one of the largest oil importers, which imports almost 60% of its needs. The edible oil prices have surged significantly after the Russia-Ukraine War, affecting the supply of sunflower oil from the Black sea region and Indonesia.  

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