The Government of Maharashtra has written to finance minister Arun Jaitley urging him to increase the grant for onion export to 15% from the existing 5% to encourage export.
The Government of Maharashtra has written to finance minister Arun Jaitley urging him to increase the grant for onion export to 15% from the existing 5% to encourage export. The government has also requested to extend the benefits of the scheme, which is ending on March 31, by three months. Under its Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), the central government has been providing 5% grant on onion export since September last year.
The idea is to encourage onion exporters so that the price fall can be arrested. State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, in his letter to Jaitley, has said that he is hoping to maintain the onion prices in the state if the Centre agrees to the demand. “In the interest of farmers, I request you to kindly consider increasing grant under MEIS up to June 30, 2017,” Mungantiwar wrote in the letter dated March 22. If the grant is increased to 15%, the average price per quintal will improve and farmers will get the production cost of their produce, the letter further stated.
The move assumes significance as the loan waiver for farmers is already a hot topic in the state and the opposition planning a ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ on Wednesday to take on the government.
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Besides the state government, the Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), the country’s largest wholesale market for onion, has also asked the Centre to extend the MEIS benefit of 5% grant till September 30.
The grant under MEIS for export of ‘Onions Fresh or Chilled’ was started on August 26 last year which was valid up to December 31. The ministry of commerce & industry and the office of the director general of foreign trade had then extended the scheme till March 31 following the demand from the exporters and the Lasalgaon APMC.
Maharashtra accounts for 80% of the country’s production and exports as well. Currently, average price for a quintal is between `450-500 which ideally is around `1,500 per quintal as cost of production for a quintal comes around `1,000 to a farmer.