Prime Minister Narendra Modi is interacting with sugarcane farmers at his residence in New Delhi. The Prime Minister was to hear their concerns and discuss the recent initiatives taken by the government to relieve their financial stress. Recently the Centre had announced a relief package of around Rs 8,500 crore.
“The prime minister will meet and interact with a delegation of about 150 sugarcane farmers at Lok Kalyan Marg on June 29, 2018,” a PMO statement said on Thursday. The delegation will consist of farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Maharasthra, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
To help loss-making sugar mills pay sugarcane growers, the Centre has taken various initiatives during the last five months including doubling of import duty on sugar to 100 per cent, scrapping of export duty and announcement of the Rs 8,500 crore worth package.
The package included creation of buffer stock of 3 million tonnes of sugar, providing soft loan of Rs 4,500 crore with interest subsidy for expansion of ethanol capacity, and a production-linked subsidy worth Rs 1,500 crore was announced to clear sugarcane arrears of the farmers.
The government hiked prices of ethanol extracted from final or C-molasses by Rs 2.85 per litre to Rs 43.70 per litre and also fixed for the first time the rate for ethanol produced from B-molasses (called intermediary molasses) at Rs 47.49 per litre for the 2018-19 season beginning December. The move was made to help boost production of ethanol and also enable mills to divert some of the
sugarcane juice during the surplus crop year.
India is the world’s second largest producer of sugar and also the largest consumer of sugar in the world.
Sugar production is estimated to touch a record 32 million tonnes in the 2017-18 marketing year (October-September), against 20.3 million tonnes output in the previous year.
This year’s production is much higher than the annual domestic demand of 25 million tonnes. The problem of plenty has led to crash in prices of sugar below the cost of production.
(With inputs from PTI)