Sunday, March 8, 2009

India to lift ban on wheat exports

Notification to lift the two-year-old ban would be issued only after the end of the 15th Lok Sabha elections
New Delhi: In a move that is expected to improve the country's agriculture sector, the Government of India has taken an in principle decision to lift the two-year-old ban on export of wheat.The empowered group of ministers (eGoM), led by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that met on Thursday, however, decided that the notification to this would be issued only after the end of the elections, reports IANS. A formal clearance to this would also be taken from the Election Commission (EC), said a member of the eGoM. The model code of conduct, which came into affect after the EC announced the Lok Sabha elections Monday last, restrains the government from taking any major decisions that could lure voters. According to the official, about two million tonnes of wheat would be allowed for exports. The government banned export of wheat in February 2007 while export of non-basmati rice was banned in April last year to boost domestic supply and contain price rise. A committee of secretaries, to be headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, would work out the modalities of the exports. According to the eGoM member, curbs on the export of non-basmati rice would continue and the minimum export price on basmati would stay at the present level.

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