Agri Buzz: Indian Cabinet Approves Rs 7000 Crore Package For Sugar Industry To Improve Liquidity Conditions of Sugar Mills

In order to improve the problem of liquidity of sugar mills resulting in accumulation of huge cane price arrears of farmers, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following measures involving total amount of about Rs. 7000 crore:

Creation of buffer stock of 30 LMT of sugar for one year and to incur estimated expenditure of Rs.1175 crore for this purpose. However, based on the market price and availability of sugar, this may be reviewed by Department of Food & Public Distribution(DFPD) any time. The reimbursement under the scheme would be made on quarterly basis which would be directly credited into farmers account on behalf of mills against their cane price dues.

To notify Sugar Price (Control) Order, 2018 under Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to fix minimum selling price of white/refined sugar at the mill gate below which no white/refined sugar can be sold and delivered by a sugar mill in the domestic market. Fixation of minimum selling price of white sugar would be based on Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) of cane and minimum conversion cost of white/refined sugar. The minimum selling price of white/refined sugar shall be initially fixed at Rs.29/kg which can be revised by DFPD subsequently based on revision of FRP etc. This will not affect availability of sugar to consumers at reasonable price and Government will put in place a mechanism to ensure that the retail prices of sugar are kept fully under control. At present, this would be done along with imposition of stock holding limits on sugar mills. The stock limit on mills will be initially imposed for the current sugar season (up to September 2018), which may be reviewed by DFPD at any time.

To augment capacity through up-gradation of existing distilleries attached to sugar mills by installing incineration boilers and setting up new distilleries in sugar mills; government will bear interest subvention of maximum Rs.1332 crore over a period of five years including moratorium period of one year on estimated bank loan amounting to Rs.4440 crore to be sanctioned to the sugar mills by the banks over a period of three years for which DFPD would formulate a detailed scheme in this regard. This would help diversion of sugar during surplus phase to reduce excess inventories.