New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday referred the Food Ministry's proposal to allow export of additional 5 million tonnes of wheat from the central pool to a Group of Ministers (GoM), which will meet later in the day.
"Cabinet did not take any decision on wheat exports. The matter has been referred to the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar," highly-placed sources said.
The meeting of the GoM, headed by Pawar, is scheduled in the evening at 1700 hours in Parliament, sources added.
The Food Ministry's proposal on allowing additional 5 million tonnes of wheat export from the government godowns is aimed at creating enough space for new wheat crop, which will be procured from this month-end.
To speed up exports to clear surplus stocks, the Ministry has proposed allowing recognised private traders to export the government-held wheat stocks along with state-run trading agencies such as MMTC, STC, PEC Ltd, sources said.
So far, the government has allowed export of 4.5 million tonnes through public sector trading agencies. Of this, about 2 million tonnes has already been shipped in a price range of USD 295-330 a tonne.
The government had over 30 million tonnes (MT) of wheat stock in godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) at the beginning of last month, as against the actual requirement of 7 MT at the end of this month.
The wheat stock has piled up in the government godowns due to record procurement following bumper crop in the last two years. The government is aiming to procure a record 44 MT in the 2013-14 marketing year starting April.
Wheat production touched all-time high of 94.88 MT in 2011-12. Production is estimated to be 92.30 MT this year.