New Government to Accelerate Reforms

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May 19 – India’s Congress Party coalition majority win during the recently concluded elections is expected to hasten the implementation of much needed reforms in agriculture.

One of these reforms includes cutting the export ban on certain commodities such as wheat and rice. Last week, Trade Secretary G.K. Pillai said wheat exports of up to 2 million tons by private traders would be allowed as soon as the new government took office.

A government coalition ruled by a majority will assure that needed reforms will continue as opposed to a divided one. A new federal cabinet is expected to assume office before June 15.

“The policy decision on allowing wheat exports by private trade will now definitely come through,” Veena Sharma, joint secretary of the Roller Flour Millers’ Federation of India told The Wall Street Journal.

India’s commodity futures market regulator, the Forward Markets Commission, has already taken out the ban on wheat futures trading after two years.

The new government is also expected to lift the ban on non-basmati rice exports.

“Lifting the ban on rice exports will be government’s top priority now. Once the cabinet is formed, we can expect a quick decision on that,” said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of Kohinoor Foods, a leading rice exporter.

He added: “Once the ban is lifted, we can see exports of 3 million-4 million tons of non-basmati rice this financial year.”