After wheat and sugar, govt may curb rice exports

New Delhi: The government may consider export restrictions on rice after wheat and sugar to ensure adequate domestic supplies and prevent a rise in prices. A committee led by the Prime Minister’s Office is doing a product-by-product analysis of essential commodities including non-Basmati rice and swift measures are expected if there are any signs of a price rise.

“Inflation is being tackled at the highest level. The price monitoring committee is meeting on every product and deciding the course of action,” said an official in the know of the details.

India is the world’s second-largest rice producer after China and exported rice to over 150 countries in 2021-22.

As per another official, export restrictions on five products are being considered, of which wheat and sugar have already been covered.

Sources say restrictions on rice could be similar to those on sugar whose exports have been capped at 10 million tonnes (mt).

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Retail inflation hardened to an eight-year high of 7.79% in April prompting the government to pitch in with containment measures.

These included a cut in excise duty on diesel and petrol, ₹200 subsidy on gas cylinders to Ujjwala beneficiaries, export curbs on wheat and sugar, lower import duty on raw materials of steel and plastic products, and a levy of export duty on iron ore & steel intermediates.

“Many countries now have an inward policy on essential grains. India wants to ensure food security for itself, its neighbours, and vulnerable countries,” the first official said, adding that restrictions on non-Basmati rice could be considered as it is consumed by one and all.

India exported $6.115 billion of non-Basmati rice in FY22 and was the top forex earner across all agri commodities last fiscal.

As per Second Advance Estimates for 2021-22, rice production during 2021-22 is estimated at a record 127.93 mt, 11.49 mt higher than the last five years’ average production of 116.44 mt.

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