Sugar glut in the country to diminish soon?

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New Delhi: Sugar industry in India is saddled with surplus sugar stocks. To offload massive stocks piled up, Government is planning to provide one kg of sugar to an additional 16.3 crore poor families through the public distribution system (PDS) at a subsidised rate that will cost the exchequer Rs 4,727 crore.

According to reports, in the first Cabinet meeting of the new government, the food ministry’s proposal to extend the scheme of providing sugar at a subsidised rate was discussed, but no decision has been taken yet on this.

It may be noted that currently, only 2.5 crore Antyodaya families (Poorest of the poor) under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) get subsidised sugar through the PDS.

According to experts if the proposal gets the nod, then it will serve a dual purpose, first poor families will get sugar at a low rate as compared to market rate and second it will aid in reducing the huge pile-up of sugar up to some extent.

Sugar prices have remained weak throughout this year due to a glut in the domestic market. Millers in the country claim due to excessive sugar production and depressed sugar prices, they failed to accumulate money and pay the cane arrears to the sugarcane farmers.

The industry body, ISMA, had estimated that the sugar production in the current year for the country is anticipated to be around 33 MMT, about 5,00,000 tonnes more than last year.

According to the ISMA, “The sugar stocks at the end of the 2018-19 marketing year would be at a higher level at around 14.7 MMT taking into account the opening balance of 10.7 MMT as on October 1, 2018, and estimated record output of 33 MMT and domestic demand of 26 MMT as well as the export of 3 MMT.”

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