Maharashtra asks Centre to up onion export grant by 10% for better prices
Under its Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), the central government has been providing 5% grant on onion export since September last year .mumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2017 10:00 IST
Since onion prices have gone down drastically, the Maharashtra government has written to the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley requesting him to increase the grant for onion export to 15% from the existing 5% to encourage export. The government has also requested to extend the benefits of the scheme, which is ending on March 31, by three months.
Under its Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), the central government has been providing 5% grant on onion export since September last year . The idea is to encourage onion exporters so that the prices can be arrested from further fall.The state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar wrote this letter to Jaitley hoping to maintain onion prices if the Centre agrees to the demand.
The move assumes significance in a scenario, where loan waiver for farmers is already a hot topic in the state with the Opposition beginning the ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ on Wednesday to take on the government. “In the interest of farmers, I request you to kindly consider increasing grant under MEIS up to June 30, 2017,” he wrote in the letter dated March 22.
If the grant is increased to 15%, the average price per quintal will improve and farmers will get the production cost of their produce, the letter further said.
The issue was also discussed when Jaitley was in the city on Sunday to talk on issues related to Good and Services Tax (GST), which will be implemented from July 1. Jaitley assured Mungantiwar that he would consider the demand, sources said.
Looking at this as a positive development, Jaydutt Holkar, president, Lasalgaon APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee), largest onion market in Asia, said the situation can improve if the central government approves the demand. “The rise in grant will certainly help encourage exporters in exporting more onions and farmers will be benefitted as cascading effect,” Holkar told HT.
Currently, average price for a quintal is between Rs450-500 which ideally should be around Rs1,500 per quintal as cost of production for a quintal comes around Rs1,000 to a farmer, he said.