India to decide on sugar decontrol in 15 days

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 11:30 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The Indian government in the next 15 days will decide on decontrolling the Rs.80,000 crore (around $15.5 billion) sugar industry as suggested by a panel headed by C. Rangarajan, the chairman of the Prime Minister's economic advisory council, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said Friday.

"I think within next 15 days we would be able to take a decision on all the issues like levy of sugar, release mechanisms and others which the committee has studied," Thomas said here at an event organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

Thomas said the food ministry has examined the Rangarajan panel recommendations and would take a final view on the decontrol of sugar industry soon.

In its report submitted to the government in October last year, the expert panel headed by Rangarajan recommended lifting all controls on the sugar industry, among the most regulated sectors in India, to balance the interests of farmers and mills.

India is the second largest producer of sugar at nearly 340 million tonnes and the annual output is worth around Rs.80,000 crore (around $15.5 billion).

The livelihood of 50 million farmers depends on the industry, which employs 500,000 people directly at the mills.

About supply of sugar, Thomas said, "The position is very comfortable."

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