Centre seeks states' views on sugar decontrol report

Centre seeks states' views on sugar decontrol report New Delhi: Speeding up work to decide on decontrolling the sugar sector, the Centre has sought the views of the state governments on the Rangarajan report by the month-end.

Sugar is a regulated sector in the country. The sector is controlled by the government right from production through marketing of the commodity.

"We have written to the state governments to give their views on the Rangarajan report on sugar decontrol," a senior Food Ministry official said.

The consensus of the state governments on the report is vital. The states have been asked to send their views by end of the current month, the official said.

The report on sugar sector decontrol, prepared by PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan-led panel of eight members, suggests scrapping of major government controls on the sugar sector as part of the reform.

The industry has been demanding immediate withdrawal of some of the controls saying it would help achieve higher growth of 15-20 percent and boost investment into the sugar sector.

Recently, Food Minister K V Thomas had said the government would take call on the report by December.

Barring two key regulations with respect to fixing sugarcane price and sharing of 70 percent revenue by sugar firms with farmers, the Rangarajan report has suggested giving freedom to mills to sell sugar in the open market and having a stable export and import policy.

It has recommended removal of obligation on part of mills to supply 10 percent of sugar at cheaper rate to the government to meet the ration shops demand.

In the long term, it has recommended doing away with the cane area reservation and minimum distance criteria between sugar mills besides suggesting removal of controls on by-products like molasses.

The Rangarajan panel is not the first committee set up by the government to study reforms in the sugar industry. Recommendations of the Tuteja Committee and Thorat Committee have not yet been implemented.

PTI