Govt to take time-bound decision on sugar decontrol report

PTI New Delhi | Updated on October 12, 2012 Published on October 12, 2012

Mr K V Thomas

The Food Minister, K V Thomas today said his ministry will take a time-bound decision on the Rangarajan Panel’s recommendations for sugar sector decontrol.

An eight-member expert panel, headed by the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman, Dr C Rangarajan, today released a report recommending scrapping of major government controls on the sugar sector to move towards the reform process.

“The report has been submitted to the Prime Minister. We will take a time-bound decision once it is examined by the PMO and comes to us,” Thomas said when asked how soon the government will take a decision on these recommendations.

The government’s aim is to protect the interest of farmers, consumers and the mills. “The final call on the recommendations would be taken keeping this principle in mind,” he said.

Sugar is a regulated sector in the country.

Way back in 1971-72 and 1978-79, the government had made attempts to decontrol the sector but had to roll back. In mid-2010, efforts were also initiated by the former Food Minister, Sharad Pawar in this regard.

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.

According to the Rangarajan Committee’s report, barring two key regulations with respect to fixing sugarcane price and sharing of 70 per cent revenue by sugar firms with farmers, it 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 besides suggesting removal of controls on by-products like molasses among others.

Published on October 12, 2012
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