03 December, 2020

Starch Contempt

Even ministerial nays didn’t deter the rice export scamsters

Starch Contempt

Last year, even as the Union ministry of food and public distribution was struggling to avert a looming food crisis, the commerce and industry ministry sought to export 2,25,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice to 22 “friendly and needy” African countries which included Ghana and Sierra Leone. The rice was sought to be exported despite an October 15, 2007, ban on export of grain. Worse, the shipments were sought to be routed through a clutch of private entities, which allegedly diverted the grain and made profits. The entire scam was estimated to be worth Rs 2,500 crore.

Earlier, in its July 27 issue, Outlook had exposed how non-basmati rice was exported despite the ban. The decision to export was taken by an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) chaired by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, and including commerce minister Kamal Nath, finance minister P. Chidambaram and agriculture and food & public distribution minister Sharad Pawar. The EGOM...



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