No move to lift ban on wheat, rice export: Pawar

July 30th, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) India’s Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Wednesday ruled out any early decision on lifting the ban on export of wheat and non-basmati rice. “No decision has yet been taken to lift ban on the export of non-basmati rice and wheat. We need to meet domestic demand first,” Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC).

The central government banned the export of non-basmati rice March 31 this year to rein in inflation, which stood at 11.89 percent for the week ended July 12.

As per an official estimate, the demand for rice in India is projected at 128 million tonnes for 2012.

The government has targeted production of 129 million tonnes of rice, along with other food grains, at a growth rate of 3.7 percent by 2011-12.

Pawar said the dry spell in some southern states, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, was for a short period and would adversely impact paddy crop.

“The country has received good rains so far. At the moment, I do not see any trouble so far as rains are concerned. It is going to be a normal monsoon,” he said.

“The situation in rest of the country is quite good,” the minister added.

Asked about the minimum support price (MSP) price for paddy, Pawar said the decision has not yet been taken.

At present, there is an ad-hoc MSP of Rs.850 per quintal or 100 kilograms for normal paddy.

Regarding the import of edible oil to be distributed through public distribution system (PDS) outlets, Pawar said: “As per the demand, we will stick to one million tonne of edible oil import.”

“The quantum of import will be revised if the demand increases,” he said.

The imported edible oil will be distributed to the poorest among the poor at the subsidy Rs.15 per kilogram. Every poor household will get one kilogram of subsidised edible oil per month.

The total subsidy under the scheme to be borne by the government in the current fiscal has been estimated at Rs.15 billion. The government has already placed orders to import 260,000 tonnes of edible oil.

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