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Government Extends Imports of Tur, Urad Under "Free Category" Till March 2023

The Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced in a notification that the urad and tur 'Free Import' policy will be extended until March 31, 2023.

Shivani Meena
Pulses to get free import
Pulses to get free import

The import policy for pulses has been revised by the Centre, enabling free imports of tur (arhar/red gram) and urad (black gram) till March 31, 2023. The move is intended to ensure sufficient supplies at reasonable pricing.

The Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced in a notification that the urad and tur 'Free Import' policy will be extended until March 31, 2023.

The pulses trade in India and Myanmar, a significant supplier, has praised the move, but domestic producers have expressed their displeasure, claiming that it would have an influence on prices. Tur prices, which had been hanging below the MSP limit of Rs. 6,300 per quintal, have risen up in recent days, while urad has ruled over the MSP levels.

"It's a well-planned decision that would help the trade and industry as well as consumers," Bimal Kothari, Vice Chairman, Indian Pulses and Growers Association (IPGA), said, hailing the government's move. IPGA has been in continual contact with several ministries to advocate a consistent and stable import policy, and we are pleased that this 12-month notification is a start in that direction."

"We imported over 22.6 lakh tonnes of pulses in 2020-2021," Kothari added. For increasing consumption, we still require roughly 10%-12% imports of pulses. There were fears about Tur and Urad shortages, which would have influenced pricing. Tur and Urad are now priced above MSP. This notification will very definitely keep prices in check to some extent. Tur is produced at a rate of roughly 40,00,000 tonnes per year, and NAFED does not have any on hand. Tur is trading at about Rs. 67-68 over MSP. We expected prices to rise, but now that imports have been allowed up, we will be able to buy between 2 and 2.5 lakh tonnes of tur from Myanmar.

Additionally, African crops will be harvested in August 2022, with a high yield expected. This would meet our demand in September, which is India's festival season, while our crop will not be harvested until December, causing a shortage."

According to Kothari, there will be no Urad harvest in India until September, and prices have risen by 7-8 per kg in the previous month. "Burma is India's only source of Urad, and they've harvested a bumper crop; output is projected to be about 7 to 8 lakh tonnes."

India imports Urad from Myanmar regularly to keep up with demand. As a result, the government's decision to extend OGL is a smart step that will assist to stabilize supply and pricing," he noted.

The government's recent action, according to Basavraj Ingin, President of the Karnataka Pradesh Red Gram Growers Association, is against the farmers' interests and would influence pricing. "We'll fight for a reform to defend the interests of growers," he added.

"OATA Myanmar and all its members applaud and appreciate the Indian Government's proactive step in making this news today as the continuation of the free import policy would undoubtedly offer an encouragement to expand planting," Shyam Narsaria, President, Overseas Agro Traders Association, Myanmar, stated.

Bimal Kothari, Vice Chairman, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) said, "IPGA welcomes the government’s move of extending OGL on Tur and Urad till 31st March 2023. It’s definitely a well-planned decision which will benefit the trade and industry as well as consumers. IPGA has been in constant dialogue with the various ministries to recommend a consistent and stable import policy and we are glad that this notification for a 12-month period is a step in that direction.

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