New Delhi: Reversing its decision that was taken a fortnight ago to keep prices of onion under control, the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Tuesday decided to lift the ban on export of onions.

The decision comes in the wake of the massive protest by onion producers in Maharashtra.

Two weeks after the ban was imposed, government reconsidered its order as the common kitchen staple turned into a political hot potato.

Following the Assembly elections to be conducted next year and political parties supporting the demands raised by Maharashtra onion producers, dealers, government was pressed to take the decision.

The government had announced a ban on the export of onions on September 8, claiming it as a move to pre-empt the situation like last year when prices soared up to Rs 80 per kilo. However, the ban failed to bring down the retail price of onion below Rs 20.

It is expected that onion prices are likely to shoot up after Tuesday's decision. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee played a key role in withdrawing the ban after Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar petitioned the Prime Minister to reconsider the ban on export of onions.

In meeting of the EGoM, it was decided to keep export price at USD 475 per tonne.

Meanwhile, in an effort to curb the rising inflation rate, the government has decided to reduce the cost of food grains in the open market. It will be available on the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Also, to control sugar prices, government has approved to increase the stock limit for next two months. Decision on stock limit and export of sugar will be taken in the month of November.

Moreover, the stock limit of rice will be announced after discussions with the states. The stock limit of pulses and mustard has been increased by one year.

(JPN/Bureau)