Centre seeks states' views on sugar decontrol

Expediting the process of decontrolling the sugar sector, the Centre has sought the views of state governments on the Rangarajan report by the month-end.

As a consensus on the report is important, the Centre has asked the states to send their views by the end of the month, a senior food ministry official said.

Sugar is a regulated sector in the country and is controlled by the government right from its production to sale in the market.

Recently, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Committee Chairman C Rangarajan, in his report, had suggested scrapping of major government controls on the sector as part of the reform.

Industry demands

The sugar industry, too, has been demanding immediate withdrawal of some of the controls saying it would help achieve a higher growth of 15-20 per cent and boost investment in the sector.

Food Minister K V Thomas recently said that the government would take a call on the report by December.

Barring two key regulations with respect to fixing sugarcane price and sharing 70 per cent revenue by sugar firms with farmers, the Rangarajan report has suggested giving freedom to mills to sell sugar in the open market with a stable export and import policy.

It has also recommended removal of obligation on part of mills to supply 10 per cent of sugar at cheaper rate to the government to meet the demands of ration shops.

The panel also suggested certain long-term measures like removal of cane area reservation and minimum distance criteria among sugar mills besides suggesting doing away with controls on by-products like molasses.

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