INDIA HAS exported 1.5 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat to Bangladesh since the country banned export of the grain on May 13, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference, Pandey said, “There are many countries [which have requested import of wheat from India]. We would not like to discuss… This is a matter of foreign policy.”
However, he refused to divulge details of the requests received from other countries for wheat import from India.
When asked about the trend in atta (flour) exports, the Food Secretary said, “The trend is on the high side.”
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Partha S Das, Joint Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution said India exported 29.70 LMT of wheat and 2.59 LMT of atta between April 1 and June 22 this financial year.
Responding to questions, Das, who heads the committee that considers other countries’ requests for wheat import from India, said requests have been received from quite a few countries and those are “under consideration”.
On May 13, the government had banned all shipments of wheat with immediate effect. It moved the export of all wheat, including high-protein durum and normal soft bread varieties, from “free” to the “prohibited” category. The decision was aimed at controlling rising prices of wheat in the domestic market.
In wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, the demand for Indian wheat has increased overseas. In the current financial year, the government estimates about 45 LMT of wheat to have been contracted for exports.
In response to a query, S Jagannathan, Joint Secretary, Food Department said about 4.74 crore ration cards have been deleted in the past eight years. It has prevented diversion of food subsidies of around Rs 33,600 crore annually, he said.
Discussing the edible oil prices, the Food Secretary said major edible oil brands have cut prices by Rs 10-15. He said the timely interventions on multiple fronts by the government have led to a falling trend in edible oil prices.