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Centre Relaxes Ban on Wheat Export

Centre Relaxes Ban on Wheat Export

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NEW DELHI, May 17: The Centre has relaxed its wheat export ban order to allow shipments of wheat consignments, which were registered with customs authority before the ban on wheat exports came into force on May 13.

“It has been decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their systems on or prior to May 13, such consignments would be allowed to be exported,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

Following a request by the Egyptian government, the Centre has also allowed a wheat consignment headed for Egypt, which was already under loading at the Kandla port, the statement said. A bulk of the 61,500 metric tonnes wheat consignment had already been loaded for shipping to Egypt. The government has now permitted the exporter to load the balance 17,160 metric tonnes so the full consignment can sail out from Kandla.

The move also comes against the backdrop of reports that thousands of trucks carrying wheat were in the queue outside some ports due to the sudden announcement of the wheat export ban.

“The government also allowed a wheat consignment headed for Egypt, which was already under loading at the Kandla port. This followed a request by the Egyptian government to permit the wheat cargo being loaded at the Kandla port. M/s Mera International India Pvt. Ltd., the company engaged for export of the wheat to Egypt, had also given a representation for completion of loading of 61,500 MT of wheat of which 44,340 MT of wheat had already been loaded and only 17,160 MT was left to be loaded. The government decided to permit the full consignment of 61,500 MT and allowed it to sail from Kandla to Egypt,” the statement informed.

Reiterating the intent behind last week’s ban order, the Ministry said the decision would ensure food security and rein in inflation, while maintaining India’s reliability as a supplier as it will help other countries facing food deficits. According to the Commerce Ministry, the order served three main purposes – to ensure India’s food security and check inflation, help other countries facing food deficit, and maintain India’s reliability as a supplier.

The order also aimed to provide a clear direction to the wheat market to prevent hoarding of wheat supplies, the Ministry added. The export curbs notified last week came within a couple of days of the Ministry’s announcement that official delegations will travel to several countries to pitch Indian wheat exports.

The curbs would not apply in cases where prior commitments have been made by private trade through Letter of Credit as well as in situations where permission is granted by the Centre to other countries to meet their food security needs and on the requests of their governments. Besides, the government will allow exports on requests from other countries, it said.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued a notification, saying that the government had taken the decision “in order to manage the overall food security of the country and to support the needs of the neighbouring and other vulnerable countries.”

Following the ban by India, the international prices spiked by almost 6 per cent a bushel (60 pounds or one million kernels or 27.21 kg) when global markets opened Monday. Locally, prices dropped sharply by 4-8 per cent in different states — Rs 200-250 a quintal in Rajasthan, Rs 100-150 a quintal in Punjab, and about Rs 100 a quintal in Uttar Pradesh.

(Manas Dasgupta)

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