Panel of ministers to consider lifting ban on wheat exports

The empowered group of ministers (EGoM), at its meeting next week is likely to take up a proposal for lifting the ban on wheat exports.

The panel of ministers  headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, is also expected to consider a proposal to increase the quantity of non-basmati rice exports.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said the minister of food and consumer affairs had discussed the issue of foodgrain exports with him and the proposals are now with the empowered group of ministers.

"The food and consumer affairs minister and I have discussed it two days ago. The recommendations, which we feel are appropriate, are being sent to the EGoM. The EGoM will consider it," he said.

Meanwhile, the committee of secretaries on food, which met yesterday, has suggested export of wheat, non-basmati rice and sugar to take advantage of the rising trend in global prices.

The food EGoM is an apex body of ministers headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar that decides on export and import.

Internal foodgrain prices were on an average 33 per cent higher in July compared to a year ago, as per World Bank estimates.

With global wheat prices still slightly lower than domestic prices, it may be feasible to export some of the surplus foodgrain stocks, the panel said.