In order to guarantee availability of edible oil to consumers at fair prices, Government of India, vide Notification No. 42/2021- Customs, dated 10th September, 2021, has further alleviated the standard rate of duty on Crude Palm oil, Crude Soyabean oil and (i) Crude Sunflower oil to 2.5% with effect from 11th September, 2021, and (ii) the standard rate of duty on Refined Palm oils, Refined Soyabean oil and Refined Sunflower oil to 32.5% with effect from 11th September, 2021.
In the same notification the Agri-cess for Crude Palm oil has been incremented from 17.5% to 20%.
Government, vide Notification No. 43/2021-Customs, dated 10th September, 2021, has repealed the notification of Government of India in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), No. 34/2021- Customs, dated 29th June, 2021, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such abrogation meaning thus the latest import duty stand still till further orders.
It may be taken into consideration that the International prices and hence domestic prices of edible oils have been ruling high during 2021-22 which is a root of grave concern from inflation as well as consumer’s view point. Import duty on edible oils is one of the significant factors that influenced landed cost of edible oils and thereupon domestic prices.
In an attempt to mitigate the surge in these prices, Government of India had taken series of steps between February 2021 and August 2021. Some of them are listed below-
1) Rationalization of Import Duty Government, vide Notification No. 34/2021- Customs, dated 29th June, 2021, has decreased the standard rate of duty on Crude Palm oil to 10% from 30th June, 2021, and will have effect upto 30th September, 2021.
2) Government, vide DGFT’s Notification No. 10/2015-2020 dated 30th June, 2021, has amended the import policy of Refined Palm Oils from “restricted” to “free” with immediate effect and for a period of upto 31st December, 2021.
Moreover, the refined Palm oils isn’t allowed through any port in Kerala.
3) Government, vide Notification No. 40/2021- Customs, 19th August, 2021, has cut down the standard rate of Duty on Crude Soyabean oil and Crude Sunflower oil to 7.5% and Refined Soyabean oil and Sunflower oil to 37.5% with effect from 20th August, 2021. It has been done through the amendments in the notification of Government of India, in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), No. 34/2021-Cutoms, dated 29th June, 2021.
4) Facilitation at various port by Customs, FSSAI, PP&Q, DFPD and DoCA.
5) To hasten up clearances of consignments of imported edible oils delayed due to Covid-19, a committee is in place comprising of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Plant Quarantine of the D/o Agriculture, Co-operation and Farmers Welfare, D/o Food and Public Distribution, D/o Consumer Affairs and Customs which evaluates the consignments of imported edible oils on weekly basis and also notifies the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Agricultural Commodities chaired by Secretary (Food).
The Standard Operating Procedure for quicker clearance of consignments of imports of edible oils have been prepared. The average dwell time for clearances of consignments has been decreased to 3.4 days in case of edible oils.
In accordance with the latest notification, the previous and present Import duties have been shown in the below table:
The duty cuts already made amount to an approximated Rs 3500 crore in a full year. With the current/latest alleviated import duty worth Rs 1100 crore in full year, total direct value of benefits is anticipated to be passed on to the consumers, in terms of duties given up by Government, is Rs 4600 crore.