The government has announced that it would allow an import of 3 lakh tonnes of raw sugar at concessional duty of 25 per cent to meet the increase in the demand due to festive season by augmenting domestic supplies.
“To supplement the availability of sugar in southern India and to stabilise sugar price, import of 3 lakh MT of raw sugar through southern ports of India at 25 per cent import duty under Open General License (Tariff Rate Quota) has been allowed through millers/refiners,” a statement from the food ministry said which aid that the imports will be allowed through the ports of Tuticorin, Karaikal, Chennai, Mangalore, Kakinada, Gangavaram and Vishakapatnam in the South. The move has been welcomed since it was only in July that the government has increased the duty from 40 to 50%.
“The import shall be open to millers/refiners who have their own capacity to convert raw sugar into refined /white,” the statement said. Despite India being the world’s second largest producer the production fell to 21 million tonnes as aganst the demand whih is pegged between 25 million tonnes.
National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories MD Prakash Naiknavre lauded the decision “in right direction because southern states specially Tamil Nadu is reeling under third consecutive year of drought and not having adequate sugarcane for the next crushing season. As a result this crushing capacity with mills would have remained unutilised”. He opined that it will not have an impact on prices on all-India basis since the quantity would be allowed apart from being allowed for imports only through restricted ports in South India.