New Delhi: The government has decided to make available 10.4 million tonnes of sugar for open market sale for six months to September 2013, a move seen as partial decontrol of the sugar sector.
The government has also allocated 369,000 tonnes of sugar for sale in ration shops for April and May.
"The central government has decided to make available 10.4 million tonnes of sugar for open market sale for six months from April to September, 2013," an official release said.
Sugar mills are allowed to sell the entire quota in the next six months without any inter-month restrictions, it added.
Sugar sector is controlled by the government right from production through marketing. The government had recently adopted a four-month release mechanism shifting from earlier quarterly and monthly systems.
The Food Ministry noted that the sugar quota for open market sale would be released to those mills which have submitted online production returns.
It also informed that sugar meant for open market sale, if remains unsold, will not be taken for PDS during the period of current half-yearly release.
Industry body ISMA Director General Abhinash Verma said, "It is an important step towards reforming the sugar sector. This will give flexibility to mills to plan their cash flow."
Sugar production in India, the world's second largest producer and biggest consumer, is estimated to decline to 24.5 million tonne in the 2012-13 season (October-September) from 26 million tonnes in the last year. Annual domestic demand is pegged at 22 million tonnes.