The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on food on Tuesday decided to allow an additional export of one million tonnes of sugar. Under pressure to reduce the minimum export price (MEP) of onion to allow more exports, the EGoM has decided to set up an inter-ministerial group in future to decide on the export price at regular intervals.
Sources in the EGoM indicated that the MEP on onion is likely to be reduced to US$125 per ton from the present price of US$150 per ton immediately.
Top sources in the EGoM told HT that the government would seek the election commission's (EC) permission to notify the decision to allow the exports soon. The EC's permission is essential as a large number of sugar mills are situated in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and the Centre's decision is bound to benefit the state's sugar sector.
In another significant decision, the EGoM also allowed non-basmati rice export to Bangladesh through land route. At present, India exports rice to Bangladesh only through selected ports. The decision is likely to make export to Bangladesh for the eastern states like Bihar and West Bengal much easier through several export points on the borders.
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar was keen to lower the MEP of onion and allow additional volume of sugar export.
The EGoM, headed byUnion 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 US$700 a ton from US$900 a ton," said a minister present at the meeting.