After a gap of over three years, the government on Monday allowed exports of one million tonnes of non-basmati rice.
The decision to this effect was taken by an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the national capital on Monday evening.
The EGoM allowed export of 1mt of non basmati rice conditionally from the open market. Each agency/ trader is allowed to export to an extent of 12500 tonnes at an MEP of USD 400 per tonne. Central stocks would be tapped into only for very limited g-to-g exports to neighbouring countries, reports news agency.
Sources said the exports of the staple rice have been allowed as the country's godowns are overflowing with the bumper crop. There is also an acute shortage of storage facilities.
However, the EGoM deferred a key decision on wheat exports following disagreements over whether the private sector should be allowed to access subsidised wheat from the Central stocks but allowed limited 6.5lt of wheat product exports.
The ban on non-basmati rice was imposed in April 2008 because of high food inflation. Wheat exports have been prohibited since 2007.
EGoM has also approved an amended right to food bill proposed by the parent ministry knitting key points of suggestions made by the NAC and the PMEAC.
The entire process is expected to allow actual implementation of the bill not before next year. "We'll be lucky if the process is cleared by December this year," a food ministry official said.