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Rajya Sabha member Sahney urges govt to rationalise minimum export price on basmati rice

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New Delhi, Sep 14 (PTI) Rajya Sabha member Vikramjit Singh Sahney on Thursday urged the Centre to rationalise the USD 1,200 per tonne minimum export price on basmati rice as it is adversely impacting the shipments.

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The member of parliament from Aam Aadmi Party said that he will lead a delegation of Members of Parliament from Punjab to meet Union minister Piyush Goyal for his intervention.

Sahney said he had received a request from Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters association regarding the issue.

In a written communication to Goyal, he said that the total production of basmati rice in India is 6 million tonnes and total production of non-basmati rice is 135.54 million tonnes for the year 2022-23.

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"On one hand there is no restriction on export of non-basmati parboiled which means a variety of USD 300 per tonne is allowed to be exported with a duty of 20 per cent. Whereas 1509 basmati parboiled rice which is a higher priced variety of rice is not allowed," he added.

If lower priced variety of rice will go out of India and higher price will be restricted, then the agenda of controlling prices will fail, Sahney said.

He also said that basmati rice is not procured by the centre under PDS system and since a miniscule 2-3 per cent of population consume this high-priced commodity, it does not in any way impinge upon the retail food inflations in the country.

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"This decision will also adversely impact the basmati farmers. There are almost 40 varieties of basmati rice ranging from USD 850 to USD 1,600 per tonne. Lower varieties of basmati rice contribute 70 per cent of exports market.

"This minimum export price imposed by the government of India would shatter the income of farmers as the prices will crash because of this decision," he said.

He added that due to this decision, Indian exporters will lose their hard-earned buyer base to Pakistan, who is a competitor of India in this segment.

"At the recently concluded Istanbul food fair in Turkey, a key destination for basmati business, not a single Indian company could bag any fresh order," he said.

Last month, the government decided not to allow exports of basmati rice below USD 1,200 per tonne to restrict possible "illegal" shipment of white non-basmati rice in the garb of premium basmati rice. PTI RR HVA

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