Govt may probe violation of import policy on kabuli chana

  • 20-Jun-2019
  • Govt may probe violation of import policy on kabuli chana

The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) may begin a probe into complaints that some importers may be importing chickpeas (kabuli chana) and selling them locally instead of exporting them after a value add, as required by law.

The government imposes and relaxes restrictions on imports of pulses from time to time, depending on the demand and production situation in the country and to protect the interest of farmers.

On January 1, 2019, it lifted a ban on importing kabuli chana, with a clear condition that all imports into the country must be for the purpose of value addition – such as processing, polishing and packaging etc – and the final product must be exported within 90 days.

However, around a dozen players, mostly from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, have been accused of importing chana cheaply and selling them below prevailing domestic prices.

“The kabuli chana imports take place at Rs 2,800-3,000 per quintal. The chana is then sold directly to besan factories, which significantly impacted demand for and prices of domestically produced chana,” a source told Moneycontrol.

Madhya Pradesh is a leading producer of pulses in the country, with Indore being a major trade hub.

Another source said that over the past few months, importers have sold chana lower than even the local minimum support price MSP. “Not only were farmers not able the sell their full production, the importers were also able to evade tax.”

Moneycontrol learns that a complaint in this regard has even been brought to the attention of the Commerce Ministry, and even the Prime Minister’s office.

There have been previous high-profile instances of violation of import policy, such as when gold traders were accused of exporting gold products, as required by the 80:20 scheme, after procuring the raw product.

Chickpea, or gram, mainly comes in two varieties: desi chana (green or black), cultivated in South Asia and white (or Kabuli) chana, which is grown in the Mediterranean, South America and South Asia. It is believed to have been introduced in India from Afghanistan in the 18th century.

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