Thiruvananthapuram: Accepting the long- pending demand of Kerala government and cultivators in the state, the Centre has decided to increase the import duty on rubber from Rs 20 to Rs 34 per kg considering the 'volatility' in the price of the commodity in the domestic market.
A proposal in this regard had been forwarded by the Commerce Ministry to the Finance Ministry, which would issue a notification soon, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here after meeting industries ministers of the four southern states.
"This has been the persistent demand of Kerala government and it also figured during discussion with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during the meeting of Industries Ministers of Southern states here," he said.
Kerala is the largest producer of natural rubber in the country accounting for 90 per cent of the total domestic production.
The domestic rubber growers, hit by slump in prices, have asked the government to increase the import duty to protect their interests.
They have been apprehending that dumping of large quantity of imported rubber in the domestic market would lead to further fall in its prices.
Rubber prices have fallen to about Rs 160 a kg from last year's Rs 230 a kg, triggering concern among the farmers and growers.
The natural rubber is mainly imported by tyre manufacturers.