VIJAYAWADA: In the wake of a cooking oil crisis, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy proposed to lower import duties on mustard oil. In this regard, he wrote letters to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
Mustard oil is identical to sunflower oil, said Jagan Mohan Reddy, and there is a 38.5 percent import charge on crude mustard oil and a 45 percent import duty on refined mustard oil. In light of the misery of customers, he said the tariffs were a hindrance to imports and that the import duty on castor oil should be cut for at least a year.
In his letter, the Chief Minister stated that the country consumed 240 lakh metric tonnes of cooking oil in 2021-22, of which only 40% was generated domestically and the rest had to be imported. Palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia accounted for 95 percent of the cooking oil imported, while sunflower oil from Ukraine and Russia accounted for 92 percent. "The situation in Ukraine and Russia has resulted in an unexpected global shortage of cooking oil, which has impacted consumers," he said.
The Chief Minister said this had led to an increase in the prices of sunflower and other cooking oils. Sunflower oil was utilised by two-thirds of the people in the state, followed by palm oil (28%), and peanut oil (4.3%). He said that the state government has earlier taken steps to maintain a constant supply of cooking oil on the market. He went on to say that the departments of vigilance, civil supply, and weights and measures had conducted comprehensive inspections and prosecuted violators.