Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said a committee would be set up to look into issues raised by NCP-Congress leaders related to problems faced by sugar mills. However, he did not concede to any demand made by a delegation led by NCP president Sharad Pawar.
A delegation led by Pawar met Jaitley demanding special package for sugar mills from drought-hit parts of the country facing 50 per cent drop in sugarcane supply.
While placing the charter of demands, NCP and Congress leaders also sought withdrawal of stock limit on sugar arguing it would adversely impact sugar mills. Excise duty waiver on ethanol was also raised at the meeting.
Senior NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil said, “The industry estimates of sugar production during 2016-17 season is at 235 lakh tonnes. Considering the opening stock of 71 lakh tonnes of sugar, domestic requirement of about 260 lakh tonnes, the industry will have an opening stock of 45 lakh tonnes at the beginning of 2017-18 season. This sugar stock will be sufficient for initial two months’ domestic requirement of sugar. Thus there is no need to export or import sugar during 2016-17 season.”
The Government of India has decided to impose stock-holding limit on sugar mills to check the rise in ex-mill prices of sugar and retail prices of sugar in the coming festival months. Sugar mills are opposed to stock limits as it adversely affects them, with ex-mill sugar prices coming down to Rs 150-200 across the country due to the decision.