Govt bans onion export, imposes stock limit on traders

Govt bans onion export, imposes stock limit on traders

PTI File Photo

With onion prices ruling high, government on Sunday banned exports, imposed stock limits on traders and asked state governments to take strict action against hoarders of the kitchen staple.

The government move came as onions continued to retail at Rs 80 per kilogram in the national capital and some other parts of the country, owing to seasonal shortages and excess rains in several states.

“Export of all varieties of prohibited with immediate effect,” a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said here.

“Stock limits have been fixed at 100 quintal for retail traders and 500 quintal for wholesale traders,” Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan said here.

In the past, the Centre used to authorise the state governments to impose stock limits. But given the high prices of onions, the Centre has decided to impose stock limits directly upon all states across the country, the minister said.

Paswan said state governments have been asked to implement the stock limits with a firm hand and take action against hoarders of onions.

“These actions are expected to increase availability of onions and cool down prices,” he said.

The export ban came a fortnight after the government had imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD 850 per tonne on the bulb to curb its shipments and help cool rising domestic prices.

Centre has also asked trades to immediately stop the export of onions below MEP to Bangladesha and Sri Lanka and asked officials to take strict action against those violating the government orders.

Meanwhile, to give relief to consumers from high prices, the central government is offloading 56,700 tonnes of buffer stock of onion across the country.

The Centre last month had also warned of strict action against hoarding of onion amid supply disruption due to floods in parts of major growing states – Maharashtra and Karnataka.

In June, India had scrapped 10% export incentives on onions after prices started to rise due to short supplies from last year's harvest and a delay in planting of the kharif crop.