Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has sought Rs 179.16 crore from the finance ministry to double the incentives for onion exporters amid significant fall in prices of the vegetable. In a communication to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Prabhu said the ministry is keen to increase export incentives under MEIS from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. Under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), the government provides duty benefits depending on product and country. Rewards under the scheme are payable as percentage of realised free-on-board value and MEIS duty credit scrip can be transferred or used for payment of a number of duties including the basic customs duty. The reward for exports of fresh onion under this scheme is 5 per cent till January 12 next year.
"The higher reward rates are expected to bolster the exports and would be necessary to support the domestic prices. The minister's demand assumes significance as Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has stated that prices of the commodity has fallen to as much as Rs 200-350 per quintal in markets, creating tremendous discomfort among farmers. Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre too has demanded hike in the reward rates. India's exports of fresh and chilled onion stood at USD 256 million during April-October 2018-19. It was USD 511.5 million in 2017-18. Good monsoon in states like Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh has led to huge production of onion, resulting in less demand from south and north region. Due to this, onion from Maharashtra has not been transported to other states, which caused a glut and sharp decline in prices.