New Delhi, Feb 7: An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) today decided to allow further export of one million tonnes of sugar in view of surplus production and reduce export price of basmati rice to USD 700 a tonne.
The panel, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, also approved continuation of non-basmati rice exports of up to four million tonnes.
“The EGoM approved export of one million tonnes of sugar, further export of non-basmati rice up to 4 million tonnes and reduction of MEP (minimum export price) of basmati rice to USD 700 a tonne from USD 900 a tonne”, said a Cabinet minister present at the meeting here.
However, the panel did not approve further reduction of onion MEP. It rather decided to set up an Inter-ministerial Group (IMG) to review the situation, another minister said.
The onion MEP stands at USD 150 a tonne for common varieties.
The decision taken by the EGoM would be announced after the approval from the Election Commission as Assembly election is being held in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s second largest sugar producing state.
Last year, the government had allowed one million tonnes of sugar exports under the open general licence for the 2011-12 marketing year, that started from October 2011.
The Panel decided to allow the additional quantity as the country is all set to produce 26 million tonnes of sugar in the current marketing year, as against the annual domestic demand of 22 million tonnes.
Apart from offloading surplus stock, the move is expected to ease liquidity crunch that mills are facing to make timely payment to sugarcane growers.
India, the world’s second largest sugar producer but biggest consumer, had exported 2.6 million tonnes of the sweetener in 2010-11 marketing year.
On basmati rice, the MEP has been reduced to USD 700 a tonne to boost shipments. The country had shipped 2.2 million tonnes of the grain in the last fiscal.
In case of non-basmati rice, which was allowed in September 2011, the panel decided to extend the cap on export to upto four million tonnes. Currently, exporters are allowed to export upto two million tonnes.
The quantity restriction has been eased on non-basmati rice in view of a record production estimate of 102.75 million tonnes in 2011-12 crop year (July-June) and also huge stock lying in government godowns.