NEW DELHI: The government today informed the Parliament that it was not considering imposing higher customs duty on wheat to discourage overseas purchase.
Last week, the government had reduced import duty on wheat to zero from 10 per cent to boost domestic supplies and check price rise.
However, the move was opposed by the opposition parties saying it would affect farmers who would resort to distress sale during the ongoing rabi season. In fact, some section even demanded reimposition of import duty on the grain.
On whether the government is considering higher import duties on wheat, Minister of State for Agriculture S S Ahluwalia replied in negative.
It is too early to arrive at the assessment of wheat production for the 2016-17 crop year (July-June). But there is "adequate stock of wheat" in the central pool, he said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
According to Agriculture Ministry's estimates, wheat production is estimated to have been 93.50 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year, while the industry says the output was lower at 86 million tonnes in the same period.
The industry has imported over 1.7 million tonnes of wheat so far this year, and shipments are expected to rise.
Presently, sowing of wheat is underway and acreage has gone up by over 7 per cent at 256.19 lakh hectare so far this rabi season from the year-ago period.
The government has kept wheat production target of 96.50 million tonnes for the 2016-17 crop year.