New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday prohibited exports of wheat flour, maida, semolina, and wholemeal aata to curb rising prices in domestic prices. This development comes after the government banned wheat exports in May.
The Cabinet decision was notified by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), that said exports of these items would be allowed subject to permission of the government of India in certain cases, reported news agency PTI.
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Which items come under the export curb?
The export policy of items (wheat or meslin flour, maida, semolina, wholemeal aata, and resultant aata)… is amended from free to prohibited,” according to the notification. Semolina also includes rawa and sirgi.
According to the notification, the provisions under the foreign trade policy 2015-20 related to transitional arrangements, will “not” be applicable under this notification. Earlier on August 25, the government decided to put restrictions on the export of wheat or meslin flour to curb rising prices of the commodity. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs…has approved the proposal for amendment of policy of exemption for wheat or meslin flour from export restrictions/ban,” an official statement has said.
Russia and Ukraine remain major exporters of wheat, accounting for almost one-fourth of the global wheat trade. The conflict between the nations triggered global wheat supply chain disruptions, thus increasing the demand for Indian wheat.
It is why the price of wheat in the domestic market has gone up this year.
Keeping in mind the food security of the country, the government put the prohibition on the export of wheat in May. However, this caused a jump in overseas demand for wheat flour.
Wheat flour exports have witnessed a growth of 200 per cent in April-July 2022 period compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
The increased demand for wheat flour overseas led to a significant price rise of the commodity in the domestic market.
Earlier the policy which didn’t prohibit or put any restriction on the export of wheat flour required a partial modification by withdrawing the exemption from ban/restrictions on export in order to ensure food security and keep a check on mounting prices of wheat flour in the country, the statement noted.
Where does India stand on wheat export?
In 2021-22, India exported wheat flour worth $246 million. The exports stood at about USD 128 million during April-June this fiscal.
The all-India average retail price of wheat has risen by over 22 per cent to Rs 31.04 per kg as on August 22, compared to Rs 25.41 per kg in the year-ago period, as per the consumer affairs ministry data.
The average retail price of wheat flour (atta) has seen an increase by over 17 per cent to Rs 35.17 per kg as against Rs 30.04 earlier, according to the data. Wheat prices in both wholesale and retail markets have remained under pressure due to a nearly 3 per cent drop in the domestic output to 106.84 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year.
On the other hand, wheat production is estimated to have declined as a result of the heat wave that caused shriveled grains in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana.
Industry body Roller Flour Millers’ Federation has raised concerns regarding the unavailability of wheat and the rise in prices in the last few days.
(With Agency Inputs)