The Central Government held a meeting with the State Governments and the representatives of sugar industry to discuss the issue of pending sugarcane arrears. The meeting chaired by Ram Vilas Paswan, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution was attended by ministers incharge of the sector from state governments and senior officials of the Centre and state governments.
Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture, Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development also attended the meeting.
Expressing concern over pending sugarcane arrears, Paswan said that all possible efforts must be made to facilitate payment of the arrears by the state governments. He said that the Centre is conscious also of financially problems of the sugar industry, hence already taken number of initiatives to help the industry and to facilitate payment of arrears. He urged the States to take all possible initiatives at their end also for this purpose.
Participating in the discussion State Governments gave a number of suggestions which include:
– The Centre should create a buffer stock of sugar .
– Loan should be made available from Sugar Development Fund (SDF) for ethanol production, modernisation of mills and co-generation.
– Exemption should be given to produce ethanol directly from Molasses.
– Import of sugar should be totally banned and import duty should be increased from 25 percent to 40 percent immediately.
– Export subsidy should also be provided for the export of white sugar.
– Subsidy or financial assistance from the centre to facilities payment of the arrears should be transferred directly to the sugarcane farmers.
– Interest free loan being provided to the sugar sector should be restructured.
Paswan said the Government will take up this suggestion with concern ministries and take a final view in the interest of farmers and industries both.
He also had day long meeting with representatives of farmers to discuss the issue and to seek their suggestion. It was attended by 24 organisations from all over the country.
In the meeting, Radha Mohan Singh emphasised that, the assistance given to the sugar mills should be provided to farmers directly. He also emphasised on encouraging sugar exports and to increase sugar import duty by 40 percent so that we can stop the imports.