‘Little to gain from waiver of export duty on Basmati’

The Centre’s recent decision to remove the export tax (Rs 8,000 per tonne) on Basmati rice may have come as a breather for the rest of the country...

Written by Rajendra Khatry | Chandigarh | Published:January 22, 2009 12:51 am

The Centre’s recent decision to remove the export tax (Rs 8,000 per tonne) on Basmati rice may have come as a breather for the rest of the country,but the move may not prove as much of a help as expected for the farmers in the state,which contributes around half of India’s basmati export,as they have already sold their produce to the middlemen (arhtiyas).

The government,however,has only marginally reduced the minimum export price on Basmati rice from 1,200 US dollars a tonne to 1,100 US dollars a tonne. Almost a dozen countries had cancelled import orders from India and the 55,000 tonnes of basmati rice left stranded on the Kandla port

in Gujarat forced India to cut the prices.

But with the Indian Basmati price in the international market still on the higher side,relatively,Pakistan,which was already

selling its produce at a lesser price,has brought the prices further down.

Talking to Newsline,Vijay Setia,president of All India Rice Exporters’ Association,said while the government’s decision to remove the export tax was welcome,the cut in prices was too little.

Meanwhile,Shamsher Singh Surjewala,president of the All India Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress,hailed the government’s decision to cut the export tax and thanked UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for the decision.

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