No change in iron ore pellets export policy, final legal opinion under consideration: Centre

NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday said that there has been no change in the export policy of iron ore pellets not manufactured by Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd (KIOCL), refuting allegations by the Congress that Rs 40,000 crore worth of iron ore pellets were exported in violation of rules by some private players causing loss to the state exchequer. KIOCL is a CPSU under the steel ministry.

In a clarification, the ministry of commerce and industry said that a notification, dated September 26, 2014, was issued, as per which the export policy of iron ore pellets manufactured by KIOCL was amended to ”free” from ”canalised”.

“In that notification, a policy condition was also added that the export of the pellets manufactured by KIOCL is to be done by KIOCL, Bangalore or any entity authorised by them. However, there has been no amendment to the export policy of Iron Ore Pellets not manufactured by KIOCL,” it said.

The clarification comes in the wake of the Congress alleging corruption in export of iron ore .

The ministry said that as per the Export Policy, items not mentioned specifically in the export schedule are “free” for exports.

“Thus, the linkage to changes in 2014 notification is misleading and is not backed by data,” it said.

As per the statement, then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, had reduced export duty to ”nil” during the 2011-12 budget to promote the export of pellets as a value added product.

The government also clarified that the legal opinion from Deputy Legal Advisor, Department of Legal Affairs “has not been endorsed” by the senior officials of the department and cannot be taken as the official legal view on this matter.

“The matter for final legal position is under consideration,” it said.

India exported 1,48,76,270 tonnes of these pellets during 2004-2014.

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