Grain exports: govt dithers amid pulls and pressures

Despite an attempted explanation on grain exports by food and public distribution minister K V Thomas, there seems no clear indication yet on whether the government will allow such exports.

Thomas told the media in New Delhi on Thursday that his ministry was "not averse" to opening up grain exports "at the earliest".

"We're not negative to it. We're reviewing the grain needed for servicing the right to food bill, and an empowered group of ministers (EGoM) will take a decision soon,'' he said. "Whenever the EGoM meets next, this will figure on its agenda." the minsiter said.

The farm and food ministries are keen on exports in order to earn higher revenue for farmers in the upcoming kharif marketing season, as well as reducing the procurement and storage pressure on the centre.

But according to an India Today report, the Congress-led UPA government plans to stop exporting grains and instead distribute the excess stock among the poor.

According to the report, the move seems to be an attempt to checkmate agriculture minister and NCP leader Sharad Pawar, who has been arguing for export of food grains in the wake of a bumper production.