A day after the central government imposed a steep Minimum Export Price of $850 per tonne on onions, Dr Bharati Pawar, BJP MP from Dindori in Nashik, has asked for a reconsideration of the same. Pawar, while speaking to The Indian Express, said she will be writing to both the ministers of Agriculture and Commerce and request them to roll back the decision.
Other than the MEP which would effectively stop exports, the central government had floated tenders to import 2,000 tonnes of onion via the state-owned MMTC. This would be the third intervention to control the price of the bulb as earlier in June the government had done away with that 10 per cent export subsidy for the product.
Spike in wholesale onion prices is the reason for these interventions just before the elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Harayana.
Pawar, whose constituency lies in the heart of the onion growing area of Maharashtra, said both the decisions should be rolled back. “The imports would arrive when the new crop will come, and MEP has to be zero so that farmers make decent returns from their crop,” she said. The MP said she doesn’t feel there is much shortage of onions and thus both the measures needs to be reconsidered.
Farmers leaders had called the move anti-farmer and talked of launching agitations. Pawar had denied the charges and pointed out how the government had given subsidy for onion growers.