Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday ruled out exporting surplus wheat lying in the godowns to reduce the stock and instead favoured stepping up allocation to Above Poverty Line (APL) families.
"There is no question of allowing wheat export. My ministry has proposed to allocate more wheat to the APL families. The issue was to be taken at the EGoM meeting today, but it has been postponed," he told reporters on the sidelines of an agriculture conference in New Delhi.
As on March one, the wheat stock in the Central Pool was 183.88 lakh tonnes, much more than the buffer requirement of 40 lakh tonnes till April one, according to government data.
The minister also indicated that the government will extend duty free import of wheat beyond March 31 - a move that was introduced in 2008 to increase wheat availability in the domestic market to cool prices.
"We will not take any decision, which will increase the prices, but the decision will be taken by the Cabinet," Pawar said.
Pawar also expressed hope that India's sugar production will cross 17 million tonnes this season (October-September), since recovery rate and productivity of sugarcane have improved.
If India produces 17 million tonnes sugar, import requirement will also be reduced since the earlier estimates suggested sugar output at 15-16 million tonnes against the country's requirement of 22-23 million tonnes.