Concerned over high prices of cooking oils, the govt has reduced
the basic customs duty on refined palm oil to 12.5 per cent from 17.5
per cent till March next year to boost domestic supplies and bring down
rates in the domestic retail markets.
With reduction in the basic custom duty (BCD), the effective levy
(including social welfare cess) on both refined palm oil and refined
palmoline will come down to 13.75 per cent from 19.25 per cent,
according to Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA).
On Monday late evening, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs
(CBIC) issued a notification which “seeks to reduce BCD on refined palm
oil and its fractions from 17.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent till March 31,
2022″. The new rate is effective from Tuesday.
The average retail prices of groundnut oil on Monday stood at Rs 181.48
per kg, mustard oil at Rs 187.43 per kg, vanaspati at Rs 138.5 per kg,
soyabean oil at Rs 150.78 per kg, sunflower oil at Rs 163.18 per kg and
palm oil at Rs 129.94 per kg, as per the data available with the
consumer affairs ministry.
Reacting on the duty cut, SEA President Atul Chaturvedi on Tuesday said:
“The announcement of reducing import duty on palmolien ( refined Palm oil)
from 19.25 per cent to 13.75 per cent without simultaneously reducing
import duty on CPO has the potential to increase the imports of refined
palmolien at the cost of CPO which is the raw material for our refineries.”
“This is contrary to our principle of Aatma-Nirbharta and may harm
employment generation and value addition within India,” he said.
Chaturvedi, however, added that the silver lining is that this reduction
has a sunset clause with 31st March as the last date.
SEA Executive Director B V Mehta felt that the imports of refined palm
oil would increase as duty difference with Crude Palm Oil (CPO) has come
down to only 5.5 per cent now. The effective duty on CPO is 8.25 per
cent at present.
Besides reducing the BCD on refined palm oil, the government on Monday
decided to allow traders to import refined palm oil without licence for
one more year till December 2022. Market regulator SEBI banned launch of
new derivative contracts of crude palm oil and a few other agricultural
All these measures have been put in place at a time when wholesale
inflation is ruling high.
In order to rein in the prices of edible oil, the government has cut
import duties on both refined and crude edible oils several times this
year. The last reduction on import duty was done by the government on
Earlier in the day, the commerce ministry said traders will be allowed
to import ‘refined bleached deodoerised (RBD) palm oil’ and ‘refined
bleached deoderised palmolein’ without licence for one more year till
According to the SEA, India’s dependence on import of edible oils is
nearly 65 per cent of the total consumption of about 22-22.5 million
tonne. The country imports 13-15 million tonne to bridge the gap between
demand and domestic supply.
For the last two marketing years (November to October), due to the
pandemic, the imported quantity reduced to nearly 13 million tonne.
During 2019-20 oil marketing year, the import dropped to 13.2 million
tonne valued at about Rs 71,600 crore.
In 2020-21, India imported a similar quantity but the import bill jumped
by 63 per cent and touched an alarming level of Rs 1.17 lakh crore due
to hike in international prices of edible oils, SEA had said earlier.