Over a month after banning exports of widely consumed non-basmati white rice to control rising domestic prices, India on Tuesday decided to allow the export of rice to Singapore.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said formal orders in this regard will be issued shortly. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi added on Tuesday that the decision was taken considering the very close ties between the nations. "India and Singapore enjoy a very close strategic partnership, characterised by shared interests, close economic ties and strong people-to-people connect. In view of this special relationship, India has decided to allow the export of rice to meet the food security requirements of Singapore," he added.
India imposed a ban on exports of widely consumed non-basmati white rice in a bid to rein in inflation on July 20. The country accounts for more than 40% of world rice exports the move is bound to trigger inflation in the market, which is already hit by Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year and the weather.
Meanwhile, the government has allowed traders to ship out their non-basmati white rice cargoes stuck at ports due to a sudden ban on exports. According to a government order issued Tuesday, the shipments of trapped cargoes would be allowed, provided traders paid the export duty by July 20, when the ban was imposed.
Around 150,000 tonnes of non-basmati white rice cargoes would be shipped out of various ports, Prem Garg, president of the Indian Rice Exporters Federation, told Reuters. "Three ships were standing still at the Kandla port and a lot of containers were lying at different ports, causing a lot of problems for the rice industry," he said.
"The permission to allow the cargoes stuck at ports will not only help Indian suppliers, it will also help consumers in some of the most needy countries," Garg said. "Most of the trapped cargoes would go to East African and West African countries," he said.
The centre on last week imposed a 20% tax on parboiled rice shipments and introduced a floor price for overseas sales of basmati rice, as part of efforts to curb inflation.