CCP takes drastic steps to curb prices,export on non-basmati banne

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (UNI) In a bid to rein in inflation that hit a 13-month high of 6.68 per cent last week, the Cabinet Committee on Prices (CCP) has taken a number of key decisions to augment the supplies of essential commodities, including imposing a ban on export of non-basmati rice with immediate effect.

The Committee decided to take steps to make exports more restrictive and imports cheaper.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said the Minimum Export Price (MEP) for basmati rice has been raised from 1,100 dollars per tonne to 1,200 dollars per tonne.

Crude edible oils will be allowed to be imported at zero rate of customs duty and refined edible oils at 7.5 per cent customs duty.

The CCP also decided to take a number of administrative steps which will have a salutory effect on prices.

The refined oils which will attract a custom duty of 7.5 per cent include coconut oil, sunflower oil, soyqbean oil and palmolin.

Hydrogenated vegetable oils will attract a custom duty of 7.5 per cent.

The CCP imposed ban on export of pulses for another year, beginning tomorrow.

The custom duty on butter and ghee has been reduced to 30 per cent from 40 per cent, while on maize it was brought to zero per cent upto imports of five lakh metric tonnes.

The tariff values wherever applicable will continue at the same level, until further revision.

On steel price hike, no decision was taken as the Minister for Steel was abroad.

Mr Chidambaram said efforts are on by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to bring together steel and iron ore producers. A meeting in this regard will be held soon.

The Finance Minister said there were reports that steel producers are planning a further hike in the prices of the commmdity.

He said the government was exteremly concerned at this and asked them to observe restraint.

Mr Chidambaram said the States must impose the stock limit orders on all essential commodities listed under the Essential Commodities Act. He said this power was taken away during the NDA regime but was restored by the UPA government 18 months back.

He said only five or six states were using these provisions and asked the remaining states to make use of these powers.

The Left parties have already sounded an ultimatum to take steps by April 15 and it is learnt that even the Congress Working Committee (CWC) is expected to discuss the price rise issue before the Parliament reconvenes for the Budget session.

UNI GS SR KN1413

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