New Delhi: Following the storage problems after bumper crop yield and rising food subsidies, the Centre on Thursday lifted the ban on wheat and rice exports under Open General Licence (OGL).

However, exports up to 20 lakh tonne for both the rice and wheat are allowed.

This was decided in a meeting of  Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Divulging details about the decision, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said that the government was under pressure for lifting the ban on the export of wheat and rice.

“We are expecting bumper crop yield in the ongoing Kharif season. We are receiving news about good crop from many states following good rainy season,” he added.

Sharma said that this year tremendous increase in production was expected and the storage houses are still not empty, which would cause a problem.

Meanwhile, Food Minister KV Thomas said that exports up to 20 lakh tonne were allowed. The export of wheat was banned in February 2007 due to rise in domestic prices.

Afterwards, the ban on the wheat exports was lifted in July 2009 but only for 10 days. Likewise, rice export was put on hold in 2008.