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Updated: March 19, 2010 02:37 IST

Despite good stocks, no export of wheat: Pawar

Gargi Parsai
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Agriculture Ministry has ruled out any proposal to allow export of wheat. File photo: K.K. Mustafah
Agriculture Ministry has ruled out any proposal to allow export of wheat. File photo: K.K. Mustafah

Instead, the government will extend duty-free imports of wheat till March 31 and step up efforts to enhance storage capacity.

Despite comfortable wheat stocks and lack of adequate storage space, the Centre does not propose to allow export of wheat. Instead, it will extend duty-free import of wheat till March 31, step up efforts to enhance storage capacity and release more quantities for Above Poverty Line (APL) people under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).

With the National Food Security Bill that assures 25 kg of wheat or rice a month to Below Poverty Line (BPL) people on the anvil, the government would rather hold on to stocks than risk depletion of stocks and pay compensation to entitled families, as is being envisaged in the Bill. The Bill will be put on the government website in 10 days, according to Union Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar.

Space for new rabi crop

At the same time, to make space for the new rabi crop that will be harvested from next month, the government is toying with the idea of enhancing allocation for APL people. The wheat stock in the Central pool is around 184 lakh tonnes against the buffer norm of 40 lakh tonnes.

Speaking to journalists here on Thursday after inaugurating a conference on Kharif Campaign 2010, Mr. Pawar said: “There is no question of allowing wheat exports. My Ministry has proposed allocating more wheat for the APL families.”

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