Govt again bans non-Basmati rice export

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (UNI) Backtracking on its January 25 exemption of allowing non-Basmati rice exports, the government today again banned export of the product.

Although Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) assigned no reason for the ban with immediate effect, sources said it is aimed at controlling the priceline.

Earlier, the government had prohibited its export in October last year as a domestic measure to control price and build buffer stock for smooth supplies. But it then granted exemption to exporters to honour their pre-ban commitments.

The October 9 ban was decided by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) at behest of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

The government in January then allowed shipment of 84,000 tonnes of rice to Comoros, Madagascar and Mauritius, making an exemption to the ban on non-Basmati rice exports.

When exporters raised hue and cry over the ban, it was partially lifted on October 25, by fixing the minimum export price (MEP) at 425 dollar per tonne. It was subsequently raised to 500 dollar per tonne during the last week of December 2007, to discourage exports.

India exported 3.7 million tonne of non-Basmati rice worth Rs 4,258 crore in 2006-07, accounting for a bulk of the total rice exports, including Basmati.

India had also announced a waiver on the export of 50,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh in December 2007 in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone and said it would donate 40,000 tonnes of rice and 10,000 tonnes of wheat.

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