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India now fixes rice export at $1000 per tonne PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 March 2008

With inflation moving toward seven per cent, the government has begun pulling out all stops to boost domestic supply situation by withdrawing incentives on export of at least 40 items, including steel, cement and non-basmati rice, according to Internet.

The government has raised the minimum export price for non-basmati rice from $650 per tonne to $1000.

In a concerted action involving the ministries of Finance, Consumer Affairs and Agriculture, the Commerce Ministry withdrew or temporarily suspended the tax refund scheme - Duty Entitlement Pass Book - late last night.

"Total number of items on which DEPB benefits have been withdrawn would be running into about 40-50," Commerce Secretary G K Pillai told reporters here on Friday.

While the country was importing cement at zero duty, it has stopped the export incentives as a precautionary measure. As for steel, he said: "When there is a shortage in the country and prices are high, why give export incentives." Besides measures to discourage exports, the government is considering more fiscal steps to improve supplies and rein in inflation, he indicated.

Pillai said an empowered Group of Ministers would be meeting on April 2 to consider measures for maintaining adequate supply line in the face of global pressure on prices.

"The eGoM would be (reviewing) prices of rice, wheat and procurement of edible oil," he said. Inflation, based on the Wholesale Price Index, has jumped way above the comfort level of five per cent and touched 6.68 per cent for the week ended March 15.

The government has already reduced duties on import of different varieties of palm oil and the duty cut on soya oil would be one of the options to be considered by the eGoM. Another report adds: With edible oil prices pinching the household budget despite recent fiscal measures, an empowered Group of Ministers is likely to meet next week to consider reduction of import duty on soya oil, reports PTI.

"It (import duty cut on soya oil) will be taken in the next meeting of eGoM," a senior official told reporters here. He indicated that the eGoM, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, may meet on March 31.

Last week, the Centre had reduced import duty on crude palm oil, including crude palmolein, from 45 per cent to 20 per cent. On refined palm oil, including RBD palmolein, the duty was reduced from 52.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent.

The duties have also been cut on cooking oils such as mustard, sunflower, rapeseed and canola. India imports soya oil mostly from Argentina and Brazil.

India took up the issue of increasing supplies from the Latin American country when its Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Miguel Jorge met Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath here yesterday. Soya oil prices have skyrocketed to Rs 80 per litre. In December last year, it was Rs 60 per litre.

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