Government forced to lift ban on onion exports

The empowered group of ministers has decided to lift a ban on export of onions after the ban, instead of helping to curb price rise, caused a further spurt in the domestic prices of the essential commodity.

The export ban on onions, imposed early this month amidst rising prices, had invited wide protests by farmers and traders in Maharashtra who wanted the ban lifted.

Farmers and traders have, in fact, resorted to a sort of supply squeeze, resulting in further rise in onion prices.

The empowered group of ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, however, kept the minimum export price of onions unchanged at $475 a tonne.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said he had met several representatives of farmers and that he felt there was merit in the demand to lift the ban, but said he would review the decision after a fortnight.

Food and public distribution minister KV Thomas, however, was against lifting the ban while agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and science and technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh were in favor of lifting the export ban.