Private companies may get to import wheat directly

New Delhi, April 28 | Updated: Apr 29 2006, 05:30am hrs
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar disclosed that the goverment is planning to allow user industries to directly import wheat under the open general licence scheme.

When asked whether such imports would be against zero duty, he said, We have not decided on this so far.

Mr Pawar, who was speaking to journalists in the Capital, admitted that the government agencies are unable to procure wheat in adequate quantities to meet the target, as the market prices are ruling higher than the procurement price.

He said the decision to allow private sector to go in for import would be in addition to 3.5 million tonne wheat import by the government agency against zero duty. He said the State Trading Corporation is busy finalising the global tender to be floated to the import of additional 3 million tonne of wheat. Already AWB Ltd of Australia is selected to supply 5 lakh tonne wheat.

Meanwhile, presiding over the 62nd general council meeting of the National Cooperative Development corporation the minister said that the government is planning a constitutional amendment to ensure democratic, autonomous and professional functioning of cooperatives.