The government today permitted the export of one lakh tonnes of non-basmati rice to Bangladesh on diplomatic grounds, even though there has been a ban on shipments since 2008.
The export will be undertaken by state-owned trading firms -- STC, MMTC and PEC-- who have been asked to source the grain from the open market at a rate close to the minimum support price (MSP).
Although there has been a ban on the export of non-basmati rice since April 2008, the government had permitted rice to be shipped to neighbouring countries and the African continent on several occasions in the past.
In a notification, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said that the prohibition should not be applied in this particular case. "Export (of the non-basmati rice) will be undertaken directly, and only by the designated PSUs (STC, MMTC and PEC)," the DGFT said.
"PSUs will buy rice from markets across the country...at a price as close to the MSP as possible, so as not to disturb the existing price situation in the market," it added.
The MSP for the common grade of paddy has been fixed at Rs 1,000 per quintal, and at Rs 1,030 per quintal for the Grade A variety for marketing year (October-September) 2009-10.
While STC would export 50,000 tonnes of rice, MMTC and PEC have been assigned 25,000 tonnes each.
On May 17, rice procurement was estimated at 27.66 million tonnes for the 2009-10 marketing year, down by about 3 per cent over the previous year. FCI expects rice procurement by the government in marketing year 2009-10 to touch the 30 million-tonne mark.
Last week, the government had permitted the export of four lakh tonnes of wheat to Bangladesh from the Central pool, at about Rs 15.43 a kg.