New Delhi, July 3: The government today approved the export of 2 million tonnes of wheat to clear storage space for paddy.
"The government has approved export of 2 million tonnes of wheat from government stock at a floor price of $228 (about Rs 12,400) per tonne," food minister K.V. Thomas said after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
The CCEA decided to immediately allow the export of 90,000 tonnes from bids received by State Trading Corporation (STC) in a recent tender. For the remaining quantity, the cabinet has decided to set up a committee headed by the commerce secretary.
Last month, six firms bid for STC's wheat export tender with offers ranging from $150-230 per tonne. Glencore, the highest bidder, had offered to ship 100,000 tonnes for $228-230 a tonne.
The Centre is grappling with the problem of plenty because of high output in recent years. A record 82 million tonnes of rice and wheat are stacked in government godowns against the capacity of only 64 million tonnes. The godowns have 50.16 million tonnes of wheat and 32.14 million tonnes of rice as on June 1 against the buffer norm 21.2 million tonnes and 11.8 million tonnes, respectively
Meanwhile, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said the delay in monsoon in parts of the country was not "that serious" and the production of rice was unlikely to be affected as rainfall was expected to improve from next week.
He said a 31 per cent rainfall deficit had hampered the sowing of coarse cereals such as maize, bajra and jowar, but the situation was "not worrisome" in case of paddy.
The cabinet today referred the proposal to levy a one-time, auction-determined fee for all airwaves held by telecom operators to the empowered group of ministers.
The move follows the opposition to the proposal by the finance ministry, Planning Commission and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The ministry and the commission have said the proposed change could violate an existing contract between the government and telecom firms, which could hurt investor sentiments.
Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati has apparently advised the Centre to defer the proposal as the issue will be taken up by the Supreme Court in the presidential reference on July 11.
Meanwhile, the cabinet committee on investment today approved an expenditure of Rs 5,236 crore to fund spectrum vacation by the defence forces.