Ban on rice exports to continue: commerce secretary

May 27th, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) India has no plans to relax the current ban on rice exports despite a bumper paddy harvest this year and record procurement expected by state-run agencies, Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai said here Tuesday. “There is no proposal to ease the ban on rice exports,” Pillai told reporters on the margins of a conference on global trade talks organised by the International Chamber of Commerce.

He also indicated that the minimum export price on basmati would also continue.

The commerce secretary’s remarks come against the backdrop of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s announcement Friday that state-run agencies had made the highest-ever procurement of wheat of 20.7 million tonnes this year.

He also said it would be similar situation for rice by the time the season ended in September.

“Roughly, 98.4 percent of wheat that arrived in Punjab has been procured by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and 99 percent has been procured in Haryana,” Chidambaram told a press conference here.

“For rice, we have procured 24.5 million tonnes and we hope to procure much more by the time the season ends in September,” the finance minister added.

The government set a target of procuring 15 million tonnes of wheat this year.

“We now have ample supplies of wheat and rice.”

India, along with some Asian nations, had banned export of rice in a bid to ease prices of the commodity after headline inflation in the country scaled 40-month highs.

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