Government to provide Rs 8000 crore package for sugarcane farmers
New Delhi: The government plans to bring out a comprehensive package of over Rs 8,000 crore to provide relief to the sugarcane farmers to clear of their dues. The government is also understood to have decided a minimum price for sale of sugar at around Rs 29 per kg, which will help clearance of sugarcane dues to the farmers. At the same time, a mechanism will be put in place to ensure that the retail prices of sugar are kept fully under control and sufficient supplies are maintained throughout the year.
Further government interventions included increase in custom duty on import of sugar from 50 per cent to 100 per cent, removal of custom duty on export of sugar, imposition of reverse stock holding limits on sugar mills for the months of February and March 2018, allocation of mill-wise Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) of 20 LMT and financial assistance at the rate Rs.5.50/quintal of cane crushed amounting to about Rs 1,500 crore.
Sources said that this would include creation of a buffer stock of 30 LMT for which money would be transferred directly to accounts of the sugarcane farmers. The creation of such a buffer stock will facilitate clearing of cane dues of farmers and also ensure regular supply of sugar in the market by maintaining the demand and supply balance. The cost of creation of the buffer stock, including carrying costs and other incidental charges is estimated to be around Rs 1,200 crore.
The package will also include a major scheme worth more than Rs 4,400 crore for increasing the ethanol capacity in the country which will help in diversion of sugarcane for production of ethanol in surplus season to facilitate timely payment of sugarcane dues to the farmers.
The sugar industry is an agro-based industry that impacts livelihood of about 5 crore farmers and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills. Employment is also generated in various ancillary activities relating to transport, trade, servicing of machinery and supply of agriculture inputs. India is the second largest producer of sugar in the world after Brazil and is also the largest consumer. Today Indian sugar industry's annual output is worth approximately Rs 80,000 crore.