Retail edible oil prices are expected to decline by approximately Rs 15-20 per kg post import duty cut, the Centre on Thursday said and directed eight major producing states to ensure this benefit is passed on to consumers, providing relief during the festival season.
On Wednesday, the government had scrapped basic customs duty on crude varieties of palm, sunflower and soyabean oils as well as cut duties on refined edible oils to ease retail prices of cooking oils, it said.
"This step (import duty cut on edible oils) of the Government of India may cool down the domestic prices of edible oils in India.
"This will benefit the consumers by Rs 15 to 20 per kg of edible oils," the food ministry said in a statement.
To ensure this benefit is passed on to consumers, the ministry has written to all major edible oil producing states to take "appropriate and immediate action" for ensuring that the prices of edible oils are brought down to commensurate levels in line with the import duty reductions.
The directive has been issued to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
"...the state government has to now ensure that full benefit of duty reduction made by the Centre is passed on to the consumers in order to provide immediate relief from the prevailing high prices of edible oils, especially during the ensuing festival season," it added.
According to the ministry, this would also help in bringing down the food inflation and provide relief to ordinary consumers by reducing the prices of edible oils by approximately Rs 15-20 per kg, it said.
Post reduction, the effective customs duty on crude palm oil stands at 8.25 per cent, while on crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil is 5.5 per cent.
Earlier, the effective duty on these three crude items was 24.75 per cent each.
The cut in import duty and cess, effective from October 14, will remain in force till March 31, 2022.
Agri infrastructure development cess (AIDC) has also been reduced on crude palm oil, crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil.
Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters