New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs 5,538-crore package as part of a comprehensive policy for the sugar industry to deal with the surplus domestic stock and help mills clear dues of cane growers.
The policy seeks to offset the cost of cane crushed and provide transport subsidy for sugar export to help the industry improve its liquidity to clear the dues.
Addressing the media here, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the policy’s objective is to deal with the excess sugar due to higher production in the coming season.
“One of the points (of the policy) talks about providing assistance to sugar mills by defraying expenditure towards internal transport, freight handling and other charges to facilitate export during the sugar season (2018-19),” he said.
“Another one is to provide assistance to sugar mills at the rate of Rs 13.88 per quintal of cane crushed during the 2018-19 season to offset the cost of cane itself.”
The total expenditure to clear cane dues and transport subsidy would be Rs 4,163 crore and Rs 1,375 crore, respectively.
Assistance amount under both heads would be credited directly into the farmers’ accounts to ensure payment of sugarcane dues by the mills, and if there is any subsequent balance it would be credited into mills’ accounts, as per a release.
Assistance would be provided to those mills which fulfil the eligibility conditions as decided by the government.
The transport subsidy will be Rs 1,000 per tonne of sugar for mills located within 100 km from ports, Rs 2,500 per tonne for mills located beyond 100 km from the ports in the coastal states and Rs 3,000 per tonne for mills located in other than coastal states or actual expenditure, whichever is lower.
The liquidity position of sugar mills was adversely affected in sugar season 2017-18 due to depressed market sentiments and crash in sugar prices, which led to accumulation of cane price dues of cane farmers to an alarming level of about Rs 23,232 crore in May this year.
In order to stabilise sugar prices at a reasonable level and to improve the liquidity position of the mills to enable them to clear the arrears, over the last one year the Central government has already taken certain measures that include hike in import duty to 100 per cent, zero export duty and creation of buffer stock.