Centre bans export of rice and wheat

Move comes in the wake of deficient rainfall

Centre bans export of rice and wheat


The decisions were announced by Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in the Rajya Sabha, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Cabinet colleagues were briefed on the monsoon situation and Kharif sowing on Thursday. “We have already stopped the export of non-Basmati rice through the diplomatic channel (meant for humanitarian aid). We will soon stop export of two million tonnes of wheat through the same channel,” he said, responding to a debate on deficient monsoon and agriculture contingencies.

He assured the House that the government had rice and wheat stocks for 13 months in its kitty. On the soaring price of pulses, he hinted at the possibility of import of certain pulses which would be distributed through the public distribution system. Pulses are grown in the rain-fed areas of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which did not receive adequate rain, creating a worrisome situation, he said.

On the tur dal price crossing Rs 100 a kg, Pawar said it might be a temporary phenomenon which could be managed if the monsoon situation improved. But the demand-supply gap may be met through import.

On paddy cultivation, he said “substantial” shortfall had been witnessed in Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh and west Uttar Pradesh. But Punjab and Haryana were not a problem as the farmers had sustained the transplanted crop with irrigated water. Pawar said while 100 MWe of additional power from the Central pool was released to the  farmers in Punjab and Haryana, the Centre had agreed to release another 100 MWe for the next 15 days. The Centre has agreed to share half of the financial burden of the Bihar government that had announced a diesel subsidy for the farmers, he said.

As much as 15 lakh quintals of additional seeds have been made available to support the alternative plans.

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