New Delhi [India], Aug. 27 : Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday met Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the issue of rising prices of onions in the country.
To arrest the steep fall in onion prices and protect farmers' interest, the government had yesterday decided to extend export duty benefits to the vegetable for promoting its outbound shipments.
"Onion prices are sharply falling in the nation and that's why farmers in Maharashtra are suffering. I today met Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over this issue. Sitharaman ji has launched the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) scheme under which when onions will be exported, five percent of grant will be given to exporters," Gadkari said.
Farmers in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh took to distress sale of the bulb due to higher supply and unsold stock.
The situation has worsened to an extent that farmers in Nashik district have reportedly claimed that they got five paise per kg rate for their produce.
"This grant will be given to onion exporters as a coupon, he/she can use it for imports or can withdraw as money," the minister assured.
"So I hope because of this MEIS scheme more exporters will come forward to export onions," he added. Under the MEIS, the government provides duty benefits at two percent, three percent and five percent depending upon the product and country.
Onion prices have crashed due to estimated higher production at 202 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) as against 189 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 crop year.