The move follows a recent decision of the central government by which export of non-Basmati rice was allowed for private trade. Punjab has been allowed export on the basis of its contribution of rice to the central pool.
Punjab’s Food and Supplies Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon said in a statement that the state cabinet had given its nod to allow levy free private purchase of non-basmati paddy in the state.
“Out of two million tonnes of non-basmati rice being exported from the country, Punjab is all set to export one million tonnes to the tune of Rs.2,500 crore during the kharif marketing season – 2011-12,” Kairon said.
The Punjab cabinet has also approved to refund the infrastructure development cess on the rice exported from the state. The three percent cess would be refunded along with other taxes on the production of the proof of rice exported from Punjab, he said.
The cess refund will be around Rs.80 crore to exporters, he added.
The minister said the rice export would help in easing the pressure on foodgrain storage in Punjab. “The foodgrain stocks in the warehouses in the state are already full to their storing capacity.”
Seeking the faster movement of foodgrain from Punjab to other states, Kairon said over 200 lakh tonnes of foodgrain was still lying in the state due to shortage of storage capacity.
“Outward movement of foodgrain from Punjab is not up to the desired level, which should at least be 28-30 lakh tonnes every month,” he said.