Decision on sugar decontrol by Dec, says Thomas

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Food Minister, K V Thomas
Food Minister, K V Thomas

The government is considering the Rangarajan Committee report on sugar decontrol and will take a decision on removing some of the curbs on the sector by next month, Food Minister, K V Thomas said today.

Sugar is a regulated sector in the country. Last month, the Rangarajan Committee had released a report recommending scrapping of major government controls on the sugar sector and move towards reforms.

“The PMO has sent us the report on sugar decontrol. The food ministry is studying it and we will take a view on some recommendations by December,” Thomas said here.

There are few suggestions which are to be consulted with other ministries, he said.

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

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

In the long term, it has recommended doing away with the cane area reservation and minimum distance criteria for setting up sugar mills besides suggesting removal of controls on by-products like molasses.

The Rangarajan panel is not the first committee set up by the government to study reforms in the sugar industry.

Recommendations of the Tuteja Committee and Thorat Committee have not yet been implemented.

In reply to a query on offloading additional wheat in the open market, Thomas said, “About three million tonnes has been released and we have sent a Cabinet proposal on releasing additional 7 million tonnes for this fiscal.”

(This article was published on November 6, 2012)
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