Just weeks after Prime Minister Modi remarked about ‘India feeding the world with its grains,’ the Indian government on Saturday has banned all types of wheat exports with immediate effect to secure its falling inventories.
“There is a sudden spike in the global prices of wheat arising out of many factors as a result of which the food security of India, neighboring and other vulnerable countries is at risk,” the government notification banning exports said.
The ministry stated that only export shipments for which letters of credit were issued on or before yesterday’s notification would be permitted.
Furthermore, according to the notification published by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the government will allow exports on request from other countries.
The notification was dated May 13, 2022.
As shipments from the Black Sea region fell after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, global consumers looked to India, the world’s second largest wheat producer after China, for supply.
The decision to limit wheat exports comes after a massive crop loss in March due to a heatwave. Inflation, which reached 7.79 percent in April, is also putting pressure on the government.
Prime Minister’s comment a month back
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month had said that during his talk with US President Joe Biden last month, he offered to supply India’s food stock to the world if the World Trade Organisation (WTO) accords permission.
Food stock in different parts of the world is dwindling due to the war (in Ukraine), Modi said addressing an event in Gujarat.
Today the world is facing an uncertain situation as nobody is getting what they want. Petrol, oil and fertilizers are hard to procure as all the doors are getting closed. Everybody wants to secure their stocks after this (Russia-Ukraine) war began, Modi said.
The world is facing a new problem now; the food stock of the world is getting empty, I was talking to the US President, and he also raised this issue. I suggested that if WTO gives permission, India is ready to supply food stock to the world from tomorrow, Modi said.
We already have enough food for our people but our farmers seem to have made arrangements to feed the world. However, we have to work according to the laws of the world, so I don’t know when WTO will give permission and we can supply food to the world, Modi added.
Twitter swings into action
Soon after India banned export of wheat on Saturday, Twitter users were quick to remind the government of the comments PM Modi had made last month. People also recalled the similar actions over exports of vaccine and Remdesivir last year.
TMC Spokesperson Saket Gokhale, taking to Twitter, said: “On 13th Apr, Modi said “India can feed the world if WTO allows it”. Today, India has banned wheat exports. Same with vaccines – Modi exported them when India faced a shortage. And then banned exports. He’ll do anything for his personal PR. And now, no one takes him seriously.”
Congress’ national media coordinator Vinay Kumar Dokania also slammed the government over the decision. “#remdesivir- Modi exported them before analysing Indian need. Vaccines-Modi exported in bulk leaving a huge shortage in India that caused 2nd Covid wave. Wheat-Modi made huge claims at WTO to export wheat, had to later ban Exports citing large shortage. Ye PM hai Ya PR Manager?”
Another user named Kumar San wrote: “Vishwaguru on overseas trip! ‘We will feed the world’! Meanwhile, back home atta prices have started going up. Policy turn around, no more wheat exports.”
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