Wiser from its earlier experience on export of sugar and fearing a political backlash on any unilateral decision, the Commerce Ministry has decided to refer the matter of export of pulses by SEZ (special economic zone) units to the Union Cabinet.
At present there is a ban on export of pulses to check the prices, but the Commerce Ministry had recently announced that SEZ units can export prohibited items if they import the raw material and take prior approval of the Board of Approval (BoA), headed by Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar.
The issue of pulses exports from SEZs came up during the meeting of the BoA last week where it was decided to refer the proposal to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), as it involved policy decisions. SEZs are legal entities, which are set up for the sole purpose of exports. In February, the government had allowed exports of 10,000 tonnes of sugar to the EU, but later withdrew permission after the Opposition BJP attacked it for being insensitive to soaring prices in the domestic market.