In an effort to help the sugar industry, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has cleared a ₹7,000 crore bailout package for the cash-starved sugar industry, which includes the creation of a 3-million-tonne sugar stockpile and subsidised loans for the enhancement of the country’s ethanol production capacity.
The Committee also decided to fix the minimum selling price of white/refined sugar at ₹29 per kg and provide an interest subvention of ₹1,332 crore on loans availed by sugar mills to enhance ethanol production, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters here. The soft loans, for which ₹4,440 crore has been set aside, would be for five years, with a moratorium of one year. The buffer stock of 3 mt sugar for a year would cost ₹1,175 crore to the exchequer. The government will reimburse this sum on a quarterly basis directly to farmers not to the mills to be adjusted against their cane dues, he said.
The package was over and above sops announced by the government last month in which it decided to give production assistance of ₹5.5 per quintal of sugarcane crushed to mills to clear dues to farmers. The money, to be paid directly to farmers, was to be adjusted against existing dues.