New Delhi, Aug 13: Asking sugar mills to keep prices under control, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday said the government is keeping a close watch and will take necessary action if rates rise from the current level.
He said there is adequate availability of sweetener in the country and the prices should not rise further from the current level.
"We are keeping a close eye on sugar prices. If prices rise further, the government will take necessary measures," Paswan told reporters here.
"I appeal to all sugar mills to keep sugar prices stable," he said.
Sugar prices are currently ruling at near Rs 42 per kg in the retail market of the national capital.
Paswan said the government had taken various measures to support sugar industry in clearing cane arrears that crossed Rs 20,000 crore last year.
For the current 2015-16 marketing year, sugar mills owed Rs 5,368 crore to cane farmers at the end of last month.
Paswan further said the liquidity position of sugar mills has now improved and cane arrears have reduced significantly on the back of increase in sugar prices.
The government recently imposed 20 per cent export duty to curb overseas shipments in view of fall in production in the current 2015-16 marketing year (October-September) and projection of further decline in the next year.
As per Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) data, the country's sugar output is estimated to fall to 25.1 million tonnes in the 2015-16 marketing year ending September, from 28.3 million tonne in the previous year.
The Association has projected that production could fall by over 7 per cent to 23.26 million tonnes in 2016-17 starting October on a likely drop in sugarcane output due to poor rains in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Despite estimated fall in next years sugar output, ISMA has said there would be sufficient stock to meet the demand.
"With an estimated opening balance of 7.1 million tonnes and estimated production of 23.26 million tonnes, the sugar availability during the 12 months of next season will be 30.36 million tonnes, enough to meet the domestic sugar consumption requirement of 26 million tonnes in 2016-17," ISMA had said.