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Govt allows pulses import at nil duty

Our Bureau

New Delhi , June 8

In a bid to check spiralling domestic prices, the Union Government has allowed duty-free import of pulses, as against the present 10 per cent.

This facility of exemption from customs duty is available up to March 31, 2007 and "will apply only to imports through ports having the capacity to handle bulk imports", according to a Finance Ministry release here today.

India annually imports between 1.5 to 2 million tonnes (mt) of pulses, valued at Rs 2,000-3,000 crore. With domestic production stagnant at 13-14 mt and build-up of speculative pressures, prices have hardened considerably over the last year.

Wholesale urad (black gram) was quoting at Rs 31.81 per kg in Mumbai today, against Rs 18.20 per kg on this date last year. Over this period, spot chana (chickpea) prices in Delhi have risen from Rs 16 to Rs 24.52 per kg. Prices are ruling much higher at the consumer end.

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