NEW DELHI: The government on Friday doubled the incentive for export of onion from 5% to 10% in its bid to push shipment of the key kitchen item and to arrest its falling prices in domestic market, with commerce minister Suresh Prabhu seeking Rs 179 crore from the finance ministry for the intervention.

“This (higher export incentive) will result in better price for onions in domestic markets. It may be noted that onion arrivals have increased in the market at present due to which the prices in the mandis are subdued,” the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Before July, the export incentive for fresh onions was zero. The government had introduced the 5% incentive in July. “Now, with the current increase, onions enjoy one of the highest incentives for agro-exports,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Prabhu had written to finance minister Arun Jaitley for increasing the export incentives under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). Under MEIS, the Centre 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.

“In view of the urgency of the situation, the finance ministry is requested to allocate additional funds of Rs 179.16 crore, so that MEIS reward at 10% can be provided for the export of fresh onions up to June 30 next year,” Prabhu said.

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