New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday said the government may consider allowing sugar imports if prices go up during this festive season.
“We do not want sugar prices to increase during the festive season. We will do (import) it, if the need arises. We want to keep the prices stable. However, there is no shortage of sugar as of now,” Paswan said on the sidelines of the National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) event here.
According to industry sources, retail prices of sugar are hovering around Rs 40-43 per kg.
The Minister said the closing stock at the end of September will be 37 lakh tonnes.
“As against an average monthly consumption of 20 lakh tonnes, and start of sugar production from November, we do not think there will be any shortage,” he added.
On September 7, the government had already allowed import of three lakh tonnes of raw sugar at 25 per cent duty through southern ports in the wake of low availability in the domestic market and coming festive season.
Paswan said the imported sugar will be kept in the southern region as sugar production in the western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh is expected to be good this season.
The Minister said the government will procure pulses this year as well, though it has 18 lakh tonnes in the buffer stock.
“Whenever prices fall, the government will do (procure) it,” he said.
Paswan also said the government was trying to dispose the pulse stock with the help of the Defence Ministry, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation and the NCCF as the shelf life of pulses was less.
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