Govt boost for sugar mills: 5,361 cr dues cleared

11 January 2021

Just a month after announcing a Rs 65,000-crore booster for the fertiliser industry, clearing all pending subsidy bills, the Centre recently unveiled a similar package for the sugar sector. Mills will receive Rs 5,361 crore as payments that were due to them as an incentive for exporting sugar during the last 2019-20 season (October September). 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which met recently, also approved an incentive for export of up to 60 lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar for the 2020-21 season. This lump-sum assistance towards expenses on marketing, internal transport, port handling, and ocean freight has been fixed at Rs 6,000 per tonne and will entail a fiscal outgo of about Rs 3,500 crore.

UP has not announced the cane price for the current 2020-21 season, despite mills commencing crushing operations from October-end. “The government has been waiting for the protests to get over. Given the financial position of mills, only a small hike, if at all, was on the cards. But that would have made farmers restive, adding fuel to the agitation fire. The Centre’s announcement now should give some flexibility to the state government,” sources said.

According to Abinash Verma, director-general of the Indian Sugar Mills Association which represents private sugar millers, the export incentive for 2020-21, although lower than last year’s, should still help the industry ship out the sweetener. “International prices are higher than last year. Although more than two months of the current season are over, many large importers have been enquiring about Indian sugar, especially given the drop in production from Thailand. We should be able to fulfill the 60 lt target for 2020-21,” he said.