Government reimposes wheat export ban; sets up panel on food security

13 Jul 2009


The government today reimposed its ban on export of wheat from the country, retracting its earlier proposal to allow some shipments by state-run firms.

The government also announced the reconstitution of an empowered group of ministers (EGM) on food security as a precaution against a possible poor harvest due to insufficient monsoon rains.

The EGM's terms of reference include:

  • Issues relating to revision of central issue price (CIP) for wheat and rice;
  • Formulating strategy for procurement of foodgrains under the minimum support price (MSP) operations;
  • Management of central pool stocks of wheat and rice;
  • Framing policy for import, export and price management of edible oils;
  • Take further position (if required) regarding futures/options for wheat in global commodity exchange after assessing the demand-supply gap; and
  • Looking into issues relating to the proposed law on food security.

The GOM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, has agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, defence minister A K Antony, home minister P Chidambaram, railway minister Mamata Banerji, textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran, commerce minister Anand Sharma and rural development minister C P Joshi as members. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the planning commission would be the special invitee.

The government has decided to "rescind, with immediate effect", its 3 July order that allowed state firms MMTC Ltd, State Trading Corp and PEC to export 300,000 tonnes each, the Director General of Foreign Trade said on Monday.

The state-run firms have not so far shipped or contracted shipments of any wheat exports in the period as international prices of wheat had fallen far below Indian levels.

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