Import of sensitive items soars 40.5%

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New Delhi: Imports of milk, food grains, edible oils and pulses, considered sensitive for domestic producers, surged by 40.5 percent in 2009-10 to Rs. 65,564 crore (Rs. 655.64 billion).

According to official data, the import bill for such items was Rs. 46,667 crore (Rs. 466.67 billion) in 2008-09.

The government monitors the import of certain agricultural and non-agricultural products to prevent an increase in inward shipments from having a direct impact on domestic players.

Products such as edible oil, milk, dairy products, coffee and tea fall in the sensitive items category. Import of milk and its products increased to Rs. 290 crore in 2009-10, up 274 percent from Rs. 77.6 crore (Rs. 776 million) in the previous fiscal, the data revealed.

Similarly, the import of food grains and edible oils increased by 259.2 percent (Rs. 118 crore) and 63.3 percent (Rs. 25,975.34 crore) year on year. India, a net importer of pulses, brought  in commodities worth Rs.10,391.29 crore (Rs. 103.91 billion) in the last fiscal while the import bill  was only Rs. 6,529.73 crore (Rs. 65.3 billion) in 2008-09.

The government allows duty-free import of edible oil and pulses to step up domestic availability for controlling prices.

Tea and coffee imports went up to Rs. 286.88 crore (Rs. 2.87 billion) in the period, from Rs. 202.26 crore (Rs. 2.02 billion).

A jump in the import of these articles was in contrast with the trend in the country’s overall imports, which declined by 0.7 percent to Rs. 835,264 crore (Rs. 8352.64 billion) in 2009-10.

Imports of sensitive items amounted to 5 percent of the country’s total imports during the period, against 3.4 percent in the previous year. Import of these items from Indonesia, China, Brazil, Malaysia, US, Canada, Japan, Argentina and Australia has gone up while that from Germany and Tanzania has fallen, the release stated.

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