The Government of India on Monday lifted the ban on the exports of onions of all varieties, starting January 1 next year. Centre had imposed the said ban in September this year owing to a hike in prices, which triggered concerns regarding a supply crunch.
"The export of all varieties of onions... has been made free with effect from January 1, 2021," said the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in a notification. DGFT is an arm of the Commerce Ministry that deals with issues pertaining to imports and exports.
Earlier this month, the Indian government had also extended the relaxed norms for onion imports until January 31 in an attempt to boost domestic supply of onions while also ensuring the stability of its price.
The relaxation however, will be subject to certain conditions. Imported onions that have not been fumigated will undergo the procedure at the Indian ports, the ministry said.
The last time onion exports were banned by the BJP government was on September 29 last year after a bad crop had hit supplies and led to price rise. The ban was lifted on March 15 this year, while December 2019 saw onion prices soaring to Rs 80 per kilogram in the national capital.
The importance of onion prices is India is quite high, owing to its massive popularity in Indian households across socio-economic classes. While consumer behaviour is not sensitive to increasing onion prices as there is no alternative for the crop, consumers' finances are quite sensitive to its fluctuating prices.
Having said that, prices have started stabilising to an extent, with onions selling at Rs 40 per kilogram in Delhi, down from Rs 65-70 per kilogram back in October this year.