The finance minister’s decision to reduce the duty on imported food meant for man’s best friend is sure to go down well with the country that is rapidly emerging India’s best friend. The US had been lobbying India to do this.
P. Chidambaram’s Budget, presented on 28 February, reduces the import duty on dog and cat food from 30% to 20%. The opposition protested the move, saying it was not a right thing to do when inflation was causing the prices of food grains and pulses to soar.
“The US has been lobbying for tariff cuts on a host of items, including dog and cat food. The customs department was disallowing such imports on grounds that it did not meet the processing requirement laid down by us. However, in recent weeks there has been some movement forward,” said a government official. “The government put a ban on all pet food from the US, “ said Sudhir Sharma, owner of Petland store in New Delhi’s Defence Colony, referring to the customs department’s act. “On the other hand, they’re reducing the duty,” he added.
According to Sharma, imported food for a medium-sized dog breed such as Doberman costs up to Rs125 per day, compared with around Rs35 for local pet food. Imported cat food costs about Rs30 a day.