Ahead of the presidential elections NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday got his way,with the government yielding to most of his demands regarding export policies for agricultural items. Early last month,the key UPA ally had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to register his protest against the government sidelining his suggestions on export policies for key agricultural and allied items like cotton,sugar and milk-products.
After a high-level meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,Commerce and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma and Food Minister K V Thomas besides Pawar,the government relaxed sugar exports by waiving the requirement of release order permits from the Food Ministry to expedite the process.
In his letter to the Prime Minister,Pawar had said the negative approach of the Food Ministry under Thomas was delaying sugar exports despite permissions for the same being granted by an EGoM.
The meeting also decided to do away with the minimum export price for onion exports.
Wednesdays meeting was the culmination of a chain of permissions granted in case of cotton,casein (a dairy product),sugar and onion exports following Pawars letter. Cotton,onion and sugar are key agricultural produce from Pawars home state Maharashtra.
In another decision,the meeting put on hold a proposal from the Food Ministry that sought additional foodgrain allocation to the tune of 16.5 million tonnes under the PDS to liquidate stock in the wake of the governments storage capacity falling short by over 10 million tonnes.
The meeting decided to set up a panel under C Rangarajan to find out ways for storage and liquidation of existing stocks within the affordable food subsidy burden.