Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with about 150 sugarcane farmers from major producing states to discuss the various initiatives taken by the government recently for helping sugar mills clear the cane arrears of around Rs 20,000 crore.
“The prime minister will meet and interact with a delegation of about 150 sugarcane farmers at Lok Kalyan Marg on June 29, 2018,” a PMO statement said.
The delegation will consist of farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Maharasthra, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
The Government’s interventions and initiatives taken for the sugarcane sector are likely to come up for discussion during the meeting.
To help loss-making sugar mills pay sugarcane growers, the Centre has taken various initiatives during the last five months including doubling of import duty on sugar to 100 per cent, scrapping of export duty and announcement of the Rs 8,500 crore worth package.
The package included creation of buffer stock of 3 million tonnes of sugar, providing soft loan of Rs 4,500 crore with interest subsidy for expansion of ethanol capacity besides a production-linked subsidy worth Rs 1,500 crore to clear sugarcane arrears of the farmers.
Yesterday, the government hiked prices of ethanol extracted from final or C-molasses by Rs 2.85 per litre to Rs 43.70 per litre and also fixed for the first time the rate for ethanol produced from B-molasses (called intermediary molasses) at Rs 47.49 per litre for the 2018-19 season beginning December.
This move will help boost production of ethanol, used in blending with petrol, and also enable mills to divert some of the sugarcane juice during the surplus crop year.
Sugar production of India, the world’s second largest producer but the biggest consumer, is estimated to touch a record 32 million tonnes in the 2017-18 marketing year (October-September), against 20.3 million tonnes output in the previous year.
This year’s production is much higher than the annual domestic demand of 25 million tonnes. The problem of plenty has led to crash in prices of sugar below the cost of production.