To rein in spiralling edible oil prices and facilitate their availability during the upcoming festive season, the government on Wednesday scrapped basic customs duty and agriculture infrastructure and development cess (AIDC) on various crude varieties of palm, soyabean and sunflower oils till March 31, 2022.
The base import tax on crude palm oil has been slashed to 2.5 per cent from 10 per cent, while the tax on crude soyoil and crude sunflower oil has been reduced to 2.5 per cent from 7.5 per cent. The base import tax on refined grades of palm oil, soyoil and sunflower oil cut to 32.5 per cent from 37.5 per cent.
As per the notification issued by the government, the duty cuts will come into effect from October 14, 2021 onwards.
After the cuts, crude palm oil, soyoil and sunflower oil imports will be subject to a 24.75 per cent tax in total, including a 2.5 per cent base import duty and other taxes, while refined grades of palm oil, soyoil and sunflower oil would carry a 35.75 per cent tax in total.
High prices of edible oils in international markets impact domestic prices of these commodities.
The decision comes just days after the government had imposed stock limits on edible oils and oilseeds till March 31, 2022
The move comes at a time when edible oil prices are hovering at record levels.
According to the latest government data, the all-India daily average retail price of mustard oil touched Rs 184.15 per kg, with at least 22 centres, including Mumbai and Lucknow, reporting a price of Rs 200 and above.
Mustard oil is the costliest of the six edible oils for which the Food Ministry monitors retail and wholesale price data.
Retail prices of the other edible oils are Rs 182.61 per kg for groundnut oil, Rs 136.59 per kg (vanaspati), Rs 155 per kg (soya), Rs 169.53 per kg (sunflower) and Rs 132.91 per kg for palm.
The country imports palm oil mainly from top producers Indonesia and Malaysia, while other oils, such as soy and sunflower, come from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.