Govt likely to extend zero import duty on rice till Sep 2011

The deadline to avail the customs duty exemption on rice imports will expire on September 30, 2010.Sources said Food Ministry is contemplating on extending the period of duty-free import of rice for one more year in view of high food prices in the country.

The proposal in this regard is likely to come before the the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) on food, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, this week, they added.
The government had scrapped import duty on rice from 70 per cent in October 2009 to augment domestic supply, as the twin-impact of drought and floods had hit output by as much as 10.05 million tonnes.

The customs duty exemption was allowed for import of semi-milled or wholly milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed.According to official estimate, rice production during the kharif season (June-September) of the 2010-11 crop year is estimated to be higher by 6 per cent at 80.41 million tonnes, from 75.91 million tonnes in the year-ago period.

But the output will be lower than the 2008 level of 84.91 million tonnes.Apart from rice, the EGOM would consider a proposal to extend the deadline of a scheme, under which the government reimburses losses by up to 15 per cent for the pulses imported by the public sector agencies -- MMTC, STC, PEC and cooperative firm Nafed.

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