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Seize opportunity to export best-quality wheat, urges PM Modi as demand surges amid Russia-Ukraine war

Wheat prices have skyrocketed globally due to the geopolitical situation, especially since Russia and Ukraine are the world’s second-largest and fourth-largest wheat exporters, respectively

The prime minister asked the young civil servants to continuously challenge themselves and never get into their comfort zones. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said that the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, two of the biggest wheat exporters in the world, has increased the demand for India’s wheat in global markets and this opportunity could be used to provide the best-quality product globally.

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Speaking at a webinar ‘Financing for Growth & Aspirational Economy’ organised by the finance ministry, he said that the financial institutions and the government departments should work to meet different financing needs of exporters.

He said there is now a renewed push towards self-dependence in meeting the country’s requirements, while at the same time also on seizing opportunities of boosting growth.

There is news of the rising attractiveness of domestic wheat in global markets, and the financial sector, import-export departments as well as shipping industry should make a “comprehensive effort” to help wheat and other exporters, he said via a video link.

Agar mano dunia mein hamare liye gehun (export) ki opportunity aayi hai, to usko samay se pehle, uttam quality, uttan service ke saath hum provide karein, to dheere dheere woh permanent ban jayega. (Suppose now an opportunity has come to export Indian wheat, we should seize this opportunity and provide the best-quality product with the best service, and slowly such an arrangement will become permanent),” he said.

Wheat prices have skyrocketed globally due to the geopolitical situation, especially since Russia and Ukraine are the world’s second-largest and fourth-largest wheat exporters, respectively.

The ongoing war between the two countries has sent prices of wheat and corn traded at Chicago Board of Trade futures exchange soaring to their highest since March 2008 and December 2012, respectively.

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This has made Indian wheat exports very competitive. Wheat from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh is now being delivered by rail wagons or trucks at warehouses near Kandla port at Rs 2,400-2,450 per quintal, as against Rs 2,100 or so hardly 15 days ago. This is above the government’s minimum support price of Rs 2,015 per quintal for the new crop that will arrive in the markets from mid-March.

Modi also urged financial institutions to support the rural economy and identify eight to ten potential sectors where India can emerge as a strong player globally. He asked whether India can emerge among the top three countries in the sectors like constructions, startups, or emerging sectors like drones, space and geo-spatial data.

The Indian economic recovery is again picking up speed and the budget this year has taken several measures to keep up the momentum of high growth, he said, adding that the government departments should focus on effective implementation of these measures so that outcomes become visible within the next year.

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“By encouraging foreign capital flows, reducing tax on infrastructure investment, creating institutions like NIIF, Gift City, new DFIs, we have tried to accelerate financial and economic growth…The country’s commitment to the widespread use of digital technology in finance is now reaching the next level. Be it 75 digital banking units in 75 districts or the central bank digital currency, they reflect our vision,” he said.

Modi stressed the need to discuss ways of reducing dependence on other countries by exploring different models of financing infra projects, citing the PM Gatishakti National Masterplan as one such example in that direction. He said that the financial institutions should also focus on the Aspirational Districts Programme and the development of eastern India and the North East.

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A total of 16 ministries, NITI Aayog, Capacity Building Commission, state governments officials and financial sector regulators participated in the webinar wherein discussions are being held on subjects including financing of infrastructure, funding sectors with high employment potential and green finance, among others.

First published on: 08-03-2022 at 03:56:59 pm
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