PM meeting on farm export policy postponed to May 2
New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) A Prime Minister's meeting to discuss farm export-related issues raised by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has been postponed to May 2. "The meeting has been postponed to Wednesday," Food Minister K V Thomas told reporters, here. The meeting has been deferred for the second time. The minister, however, did not specify the reason for postponing the today's meeting. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had scheduled the meeting after Pawar had written a letter earlier this month stating that the government's export policies are hurting farmers, who are being asked to subsidise the industry. The meeting was to be attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Food Minister K V Thomas and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. Pawar had expressed concern that the delay in sugar exports and ban on fresh cotton shipments and some milk products was affecting farmers income. However, sources said that the issue of cotton was resolved during the day and the export policy on sugar, milk products and onion would be taken up in the next meeting. In an informal group of ministers' meeting held here in Parliament, the government decided to allow fresh cotton exports for the current marketing year (October-September). "A decision has been taken to remove suspension of cotton exports registration. Registration of cotton exports will be allowed by the government," Sharma said after the meeting. Last month, the government had lifted the ban on exports but decided not to issue fresh registration of certificates (RCs). It only allowed shipments for which RCs were already issued before the ban was imposed on March. As regard to sugar exports, the Food Ministry has not yet notified the EGoM's decision of March 26 to allow further export of one million tonnes of sugar this year. The government has permitted sugar exports as production is higher than the demand at 25.2 million tonnes in 2011-12. The annual demand is 22 million tonnes.