New Delhi: Amid demand from sugar mills for duty hike to curb imports of the sweetener, Food Minister K V Thomas Friday ruled out such a possibility during the current marketing year ending September and said the government will take a decision on the issue after that.
On poor response from private traders for export of FCI wheat, Thomas said the issue of reducing floor price to boost shipments would be decided by a panel of ministers. However, he added that the Food Ministry will not push for exports as storage situation has become comfortable.
About import duty on sugar, he told reporters here: "Less than 20 lakh tonnes is imported into the country. It is a small quantity. What impact does it have on prices? Let the current season get over, then we will decide on import duty after discussing with Agriculture Minister and CACP.
"It is a free market. Let them manage the situation. If prices go up, we have power to impose controls on them again."
In view of lower domestic prices on account of surplus sugar, the industry has been demanding hike in import duty on raw and refined sugar from 10 percent to 30 percent.
On wheat exports, Thomas said: "No quotation was received for tenders invited for export of FCI wheat via private trade. We are not under pressure to export as we have only two-year old stock and storage situation is comfortable."
Asked if floor price of Rs 1,480 per quintal plus taxes will be reduced to boost shipments, he said: "We are not in a hurry to do that. We will evaluate the situation in June. We will prepare a note about the response we have received to for export tenders and place it before group of ministers to decide on price."
The government has allowed export of additional 5 million tonnes of wheat from its godowns via private traders to evacuate the 2011-12 stock especially in Punjab and Haryana, where maximum grain is procured and stored.