New Delhi: The meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) on Food scheduled for Monday to decide on granting permission for sugar exports has been postponed and is likely to be held on Tuesday.
Last week, Food Minister K V Thomas had said the EGOM headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee would meet on November 21 to decide on sugar exports in the 2011-12 marketing year, which commenced last month.
A senior Food Ministry official said, "The EGOM meeting has been postponed for tomorrow."
Sources said the ministry had yet not firmed up its proposal on the quantity of sugar that mills will be allowed to export.
The industry has been demanding permits for the export of 4 million tonnes of sugar in the 2011-12 marketing year (October-September), as the country's production is estimated at 25-26 million tonnes against annual domestic demand of 22 million tonnes.
In the previous marketing year, the government had allowed 2.6 million tonnes of sugar exports, of which 1.5 million tonnes was through open general licences in three equal tranches.
The industry is seeking an early decision on the sugar export policy as global prices are softening and a further delay in announcing the policy would make exports unviable.
Sugar production in India -- the world's second-largest producer and biggest consumer -- rose to 24.3 million tonnes in 2010-11 from nearly 19 million tonnes in the previous year.
In the current marketing year, the government has pegged output at 25 million tonnes, while industry has estimated production at 26 million tonnes.