India may give sugar producers more freedom from state control

NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (AsiaPulse) – Noting that sugar industry
would be a priority under the food bill, Indian Food Minister
K.V Thomas on Wednesday said the government will consider the
demand for partial decontrol of the sector after Parliament
session. Making a demand for removal of levy sugar, ISMA President
Narendra Murkumbi pointed out that the compulsion to supply 2.6
million tonnes of sugar for the PDS at a discounted rate causes
losses of around Rs 3,000 crore (US$570.78 million) to the
industry every year.

Addressing the function, Thomas said the issue of decontrol
involves a large number of stakeholders — farmers, mills,
States and consumers — and a consensus needed to emerge on
this issue.

Besides removal of levy sugar obligations, the industry has
been demanding end of monthly release mechanism, under which
food ministry fixes the quantity of sugar that mills can sell
in the open market every month.

Expressing concern over cyclical nature of sugar industry he
said there was a need to tackle this phenomenon through
long-term solution.

(PTI) ry The minister also said the government would consider further
export of sugar at an “appropriate time”, which would be
favourable for the industry. Last month, an export o