The government has banned exports of onion till March next year with a view to increase domestic availability and to keep prices in check.
"Export policy of onions... is amended from free to prohibited till March 31, 2024," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
Local vendors in the national capital are selling onions at Rs 70-Rs 80 per kg.
Earlier, the Centre in October had decided to step up the sale of buffer onion stock at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 per kg in retail markets in order to provide relief to consumers.
To control prices, the government has earlier taken several steps. It had imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD 800 per tonne on onion exports on October 28 till December 31 this year.
In August, India had imposed a 40 per cent export duty on onions up to December 31.
The DGFT also said that the exports of onion, however, will be allowed on the basis of permission granted by the government to other countries based on their request.
It added that shipments of onion, whose loading had commenced before this notification, are allowed to be exported.
Further, where shipping bill is filed and vessels have already berthed and anchored in Indian ports for loading of onion and their rotation number has been allocated before this notification, that shipment is also allowed for exports.
Exports of onion are also permitted if "consignments of onion has been handed over to the customs before this notification and is registered in their system/ where onions consignment has entered the customs station for exportation before this notification and is registered in the electronic systems of the concerned custodian of the customs station with verifiable evidence of date and time stamping of these commodities having entered the station prior to December 8".
The period of exports for such consignments shall be up to January 5 next year.
Between April 1 and August 4 this fiscal, 9.75 lakh tonnes of onions have been exported from the country.
The top three importing countries in value terms are Bangladesh, Malaysia and the UAE.
Onion prices have started inching up amid reports of lag in onion coverage in the ongoing kharif season.
Onion is a politically-sensitive commodity.
According to the WPI data released on November 14, while inflation in vegetables and potatoes cooled to (-) 21.04 per cent and (-) 29.27 per cent respectively, the annual rate of price rise in onion continued to rule high at 62.60 per cent in October.