New Delhi | Pressing for an immediate ban on rubber imports to save domestic cultivators from falling prices, Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani today demanded the Centre to allocate Rs 500 crore for Stabilisation Fund to procure excess rubber locally.
Mani, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, also pressed for revision of import duty for rubber to 25 per cent from the present 20 per cent. When I met the Prime Minister I said that at present there is no necessity for rubber import. Therefore, import should be banned for the time being, Mani told reporters here.
Pointing that rubber prices dropped drastically during the last one year almost by half, he said that rubber is being imported beyond the deficit levels. Rubber prices have fallen from Rs 240 per kilogram last year to Rs 110, which is not at all remunerative. The main reason for fall in rubber prices is import of rubber.
If there is any deficit we have no objection for import… Deficit is only marginal, which is 60,000 tonnes, whereas four lakh tonnes was imported last year. That imports is not for covering deficit, but artificially diminishing rubber prices, he said.
The Kerala Finance Minister said that the Centre should supplement the Stabilisation Fund by Rs 500 crore, for which the state government has earmarked Rs 300 crore to procure natural rubber. I have pleaded that the central government should also help by supplementing Rs 500 crore for Stabilisation Fund. With Rs 800 crore, we can purchase more than 50,000 tonnes of rubber.
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