New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) The government today allowed duty free import of up to 5,00,000 tonnes of raw sugar to boost domestic supplies and check price rise amid production fall.
The duty-free imports will be allowed until June 12 under the Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ), according to a notification laid in Parliament.
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said refiners will have to apply online with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) from April 13 to 24 for undertaking imports.
Import will be allowed with zonal quantity restrictions and will be open for only millers/refiners having their own refining capacity, he said in a statement.
Although India has adequate quantity of sugar to meet domestic demand, Paswan said the decision to allow imports has been taken to address regional production gaps and to maintain domestic prices at reasonable levels.
Elaborating on the notification, a senior government official said that southern ports will be allowed to import 3 lakh tonnes of raw sugar, western ports 1.5 lakh tonnes and eastern ports 50,000 tonnes.
The shipment quantity for each refinery will be decided by the DGFT based on the parameters such as total refining capacity, capacity utilisation in the current year and demand in a particular area, the official told PTI.
“The cap on import quantity has been kept so that there is no adverse impact on next sugar marketing year and there is check on speculation during the end of the ongoing 2016-17 marketing year ending September,” the official noted.
Raw sugar imports are feasible now as global prices are ruling lower at 16.2 cents per pound at present.
The sugar production in India, the world’s second largest producer and biggest consumer, is estimated to be much lower than the annual requirement of 24.5 to 25 million tonnes.
Sugar production, which the government has not yet released officially, is estimated to drop to 20.3 million tonnes in the ongoing 2016-17 marketing year from 25.1 million tonnes last year because of drought.
With an opening stock of 7.7 million tonnes, the country would have 28 million tonnes of sugar this year, which is much higher than the annual requirement. There are around 29 refineries in India.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.