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Cabinet may clear export of 2 mn tonnes of wheat

Hit by huge wheat production, India is likely to allow export of the cereal to ease pressure on government procurement agencies.

delhi Updated: Jul 03, 2012 00:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Hit by huge wheat production, India is likely to allow export of the cereal to ease pressure on government procurement agencies.

The cabinet committee on economic affairs on Thursday is expected to allow export of two million tonnes of wheat from the central stocks. “Among the issues on agenda include the proposal to allow export of wheat stored in the Food Corporation of India godowns," an highly placed source said.

The government is grappling with the problem of plenty due to high output and FCI godowns are overflowing with a record 82 million tonnes of rice and wheat, against the storing capacity of only 64 million tonnes.

To clear surplus stock, the food ministry has proposed export of two million tonnes of wheat stored in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, as recommended by the PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan, official sources said.

The food ministry has suggested wheat export through a public sector undertakings with a floor price of US$ 228 per tonne even as the the finance ministry has opposed the move raising concerns about subsidy of about Rs. 1,500 crore due to the outbound shipments, the source added. Export of wheat was banned in September 2011.

Last week, as many as 17 nations including Japan, the Netherlands and Iraq, had expressed interest in importing wheat from India, especially from government's stocks. In the 2011-12 crop year (July-June), wheat production is expected to be a bumper 90.23 million tonnes.

New building complex for Supreme Court.

The cabinet is likely to consider on Tuesday a law ministry proposal to construct an additional complex for the Supreme Court at an estimated cost of Rs. 884 crore, which will be provided over the next three years.

The complex will be built on 12 acres of land adjoining the Supreme Court, where the famous amusement park for children, Appu Ghar, used to be there till 2008.

The law ministry proposal states that the country’s top court is facing acute shortage of land and it requires more space for accommodating the huge piles of official records, office complex, an auditorium and a hall for litigants apart from parking area.

According to the ministry, the Supreme Court had started functioning from the present complex around five decades back with only seven judges and a handful of staff.

“The situation has completely changed now with the number of judges having gone upto 31 and the total number of staff today is 1,700. The number of lawyers and litigants has also increased manifold,” the ministry note states.

The proposal, first mooted in 2006, has already taken six years to complete the initial formalities, which included shutting down the Appu Ghar and drawing up of construction plans by the central public works department (CPWD), which is controlled by the urban development ministry.

Apart from the construction cost, the government will also provide Rs. 5 crore as maintenance cost every year to the proposed complex.

Spectrum pricing

The UPA government is mulling a one-time spectrum charge on the existing spectrum holdings on the telecom service providers at the auction-determined rates.

The government thinks this will ensure a level playing field among all service providers and the sector as a whole would be able to conduct properly.

The centre is likely to apply this charge from the date of commencement the first quarter following the date of the cabinet decision.

For spectrums already allotted beyond 6.2 MHz/ 5 MHz in GSM/ CDMA band, the government would apply this prospective charges for future. For the retrospective charges for the period prior to the date of applicability of prospective charges, the government would wait for the final outcome of the Presidential reference it has sought from the Supreme Court.

First Published: Jul 02, 2012 21:47 IST