labels: economy - general, governance
Government frees wheat, sugar imports, halts export of pulsesnews
22 June 2006

The government has allowed the private sector to import wheat and sugar while ordering an immediate ban on the export of pulses in a bid to curb galloping prices of essential commodities. These decisions were taken by the cabinet committee on prices (CCP) which discussed the issue of price rise, finance minister P Chidambaram told reporters at a press conference.

Chidambaram said this would enable the private sector, especially flour mill owners producing wheat products, to import wheat from the international market.

The decision comes in the wake of a sharp rise in prices of essential commodities, especially food items, and a growing resentment among consumers. Prices of sugar and lentils have increased more than 20 per cent in the month, while cost of vegetables have increased fourfold in some cities.

Wheat, sugar and pulses were the three prime articles showing a rising price trend and driving the price rise, Chidambaram said. He, however, discounted the wide fluctuations in the prices of vegetables, saying "there are always seasonal fluctuations."

Private imports of sugar will only be allowed till September-end as the government is expecting sufficient sugar production in the next season, he said.

On pulses, he said, there has always been a gap between supply and demand and by halting export of lentils, the government expects to augment supply.

He also urged state governments to deal with the problem of hoarding by private traders. The finance minister said the cabinet secretary has been directed to suggest ways of regulating the commodity market and his report is expected in a few days. A bill aimed at providing a regulatory mechanism for the commodity market is still pending in Parliament, he added.

 search domain-b
Government frees wheat, sugar imports, halts export of pulses