Rangarajan committee on sugar decontrol to meet on May 3
New Delhi: An expert committee on sugar decontrol, headed by Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan, is scheduled to meet on May 3.
"The Committee is actively examining the issue and is in touch with all stakeholders. The next meeting is on May 3," Food Secretary B C Gupta told reporters after the concluding ceremony of the 41st session of International Sugar Organisation here.
The Committee is clear that it would give the recommendations after hearing all stakeholders' view on issues related to decontrol of the sugar industry, he said.
During the meeting in February, the committee had said that it would submit its report in six months, he added.
The members of the committee include Chief Economic Advisor in Finance Ministry Kaushik Basu, secretaries to the Department of Food and Agriculture, Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) Chairman Ashok Gulati, former Agriculture Secretary Nand Kumar and K P Krishnan, Secretary EAC.
The sugar industry is under the government control, right from the level of production to distribution.
The Apex sugar industry bodies, Indian Sugar Mills Association and National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories, are seeking partial decontrol of the sector, including freedom to sell sugar in the open market and doing away with the levy obligation for the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Under the levy obligation, sugar mills are required to sell 10 percent of their output to the government at below-cost rates for supply to ration shops. Mills supply levy sugar at 60 percent of the cost of production, resulting in an annual industry loss of about Rs 2,500-3,000 crore.
The industry has also been demanding removal of the monthly release system under which the food ministry allocates the quantity of sugar to be sold in the open market every month.
Sugar production in India, the world's second-largest producer but the largest consumer, is estimated to touch 25.2 million tonnes against the annual demand of 22 million tonnes.