Special Correspondent

Refined oil and alcoholic beverages lead the surge

Significant rise in import of cotton silk

Import of SSI products too goes up

NEW DELHI: Riding on the back of slide in exports, import of sensitive items went up by 33 per cent with refined oil leading the surge with a jump of 132 per cent, followed by alcoholic beverages (52.6 per cent) and cotton and silk (48.9 per cent) during the April-December period of the current year.

According to official data released by the Ministry of Commerce here on Tuesday, import of other sensitive items such as rubber, marble and granite, automobiles and auto-parts also saw a significant increase in the third quarter of 2008-09. However, the overall import of sensitive items went up by 33 per cent, compared with 44.8 per cent increase in total imports.

The average import of sensitive items grew at a lesser pace than the country’s total imports, partly due to foodgrains import that shrank by 98.6 per cent.

The sensitive items, though constitute 3.4 per cent of the total import basket, are monitored by the government to see whether they are causing any adverse impact on the domestic industry, particularly the small and medium sector.

Import of sensitive items, including from China and the U.S., shot up to Rs. 33,864 crore in the first nine months of this fiscal from Rs. 25,454 crore in the same period last year. Import of alcoholic beverages during the period was valued at Rs. 294 crore, while that of cotton and silk was at Rs. 1,238 crore.

India’s total imports stood at Rs. 10, 03,947 crore during April-December against Rs. 6, 93,445 a year ago. However, import of the sensitive items from countries like Canada and Argentina declined.

Import of edible oil increased to Rs. 10,943 crore during the period from Rs. 8,439 crore a year earlier.

“The increase in edible oil imports is mainly due to substantial increase in import of crude palm oil and its fractions,” the official statement said. Import of SSI products, including umbrella and locks, increased to Rs. 872 crore in April-December 2008, 23.5 per cent more than Rs. 706-crore worth of import a year ago. Import of items like bamboos, cocoa and copra and sugar too surged to Rs. 205 crore.