India formally bans onion exports, allows import at zero duty

December 22nd, 2010 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) In a bid to bring down the spiralling prices of onions, India Wednesday formally notified a ban on its exports while permitting imports at zero duty with immediate effect.Earlier, the government had doubled the minimum export price of onions from the country, the second largest producer of the commodity after China.

“In supercession of all earlier notifications on export of onions, it has been decided to prohibit export of all varieties of onion with immediate effect and till further orders,” said a gazette notification.

“The customs duty on onions has also been cut from 5 percent to zero,” Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla told reporters here, even as India started imports from Pakistan started flowing in.

Some Amritsar-based importers had placed orders for nearly 1,000 tonnes of onions from Pakistan and at least 30 truckloads had arrived Tuesday, commerce ministry officials said, hoping the remaining 50-odd trucks will arrive over the next few days.

Prices of the tuber had spiralled to Rs.70-Rs.82 per kg in retail markets across India after crop failure in the main producing state of Maharashtra due to heavy rains, prompting the government to take a series of measures to increase supplies.

The Prime Minister’s Office too intervened Tuesday asking immediate intervention by the consumer affairs department to monitor the situation and take immediate steps to bring down prices.

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