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Mamata Urges PM Modi to Exempt 20% Custom Duties on ‘Gobindobhog’ Rice Export

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee wrote to PM Modi requesting that Gobindobhog rice be excluded from customs duties and get similar privileges as basmati rice.

Sonali Behera
Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to PM Modi requesting to excluded customs duties from Gobindobhog rice.
Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to PM Modi requesting to excluded customs duties from Gobindobhog rice.

On Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to waive the customs charges imposed on the well-liked "Gobindobhog" rice type. She requested that the prime minister consider her request because Basmati rice is exempt from customs charges.

According to Mamata's letter, Gobindobhog rice is very well-liked and is provided as prasad on important occasions. She said that this rice type is in high demand in Europe and Gulf nations including countries in the gulf region viz., KSA, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc. It was given a regional identification tag in 2017.

In the letter, Bengal CM addressed Modi as 'sir' and asked him "to kindly issue necessary instructions" in this regard.

Banerjee wrote in her two-page letter to PM that "Unfortunately, the Government of India has imposed a 20 percent customs duty on rice, as a result of which the export business of the premium 'Gobindobhog' variety has been badly affected with a negative impact on the demand and domestic price of the paddy, and hence on the income of farmers."

"It is appreciated that Basmati, another popular high-value aromatic rice variety, has been exempted from the 20 percent customs duty. It is, therefore, requested on the same condition by which Basmati has been exempted, the premium aromatic variety, Gobindobhog rice should also be exempted from such 20 percent customs duty on export at an early date to avoid loss of business and depriving benefits to our farmers," she added.

To this she further added, "May I request you, Sir, to kindly issue necessary instructions for extending a similar exemption of the duty on export to the premium aromatic variety, Gobindobhog rice at the earliest."

Only a few districts in West Bengal cultivate pure Gobindobhog rice, which has received geographic identification by certificate number. 297 dated 24th October 2017. Compared to the MSP for rice, it sells at a substantially higher price. Since 2011, Bengal has promoted the development of this premium variety, "Gobindobhog," in suitable locations in place of coarse grain rice to increase the revenue of our farmers.

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