The industry is seeking an early decision on the sugar export policy as global prices are softening and a further delay in announcing the policy would make exports unviable
New Delhi: The meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Food scheduled for today to decide on granting permission for sugar exports has been postponed and is likely to be held tomorrow, reports PTI.
Last week, food minister KV Thomas had said the EGoM headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee would meet on 21st November to decide on sugar exports in the 2011-12 marketing year, which commenced last month.
A senior food ministry official said, “The EGoM meeting has been postponed for tomorrow.”
Sources said the ministry had yet not firmed up its proposal on the quantity of sugar that mills will be allowed to export.
The industry has been demanding permits for the export of 4 million tonnes of sugar in the 2011-12 marketing year (October-September), as the country’s production is estimated at 25-26 million tonnes against annual domestic demand of 22 million tonnes.
In the previous marketing year, the government had allowed 2.6 million tonnes of sugar exports, of which 1.5 million tonnes was through the open general licence (OGL) in three equal tranches.
The industry is seeking an early decision on the sugar export policy as global prices are softening and a further delay in announcing the policy would make exports unviable.
Sugar production in India—the world’s second-largest producer and biggest consumer—rose to 24.3 million tonnes in 2010-11 from nearly 19 million tonnes in the previous year.
In the current marketing year, the government has pegged output at 25 million tonnes, while industry has estimated production at 26 million tonnes.
The Railways have reduced tatkal booking period to one day before the journey and also barred agents from booking tickets on the Internet from 8am to 10am
The Indian Railways have revised the Tatkal (urgent ticket booking) scheme, making it more ‘passenger-friendly’ by reducing the advance booking time to one day, excluding the journey date, from the earlier two days. The Railways also increased the booking time by one hour to 8am to 10am and has barred agents from booking tickets under the tatkal scheme over the Internet. The changes came into existence from Monday.
According to experts, these changes have been introduced following passengers’ complaints of not being able to book tatkal tickets mainly due to touts and agents who would book all the tickets immediately after the window was opened.
Passenger organisations have welcomed this move. Madhu Kotain, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, told Moneylife, that, “Tatkal was meant for emergency journeys. There is no logic in allowing booking such tickets three days prior to the journey. These new changes would benefit passengers and curtail mischief of agents.”
The revised system will permit the passengers, to book maximum four tickets per PNR and tickets will be issued on producing identity proofs, from any one of the eight points mentioned by the Railways.
“The details of the identity proof will be captured by the system and indicated on the reserved tickets as well on the reservation chart. It will not be mandatory for the passenger(s) to go to the counter to book the Tatkal ticket, however, the proof will have to be sent in the aforementioned manner,” the Railway said in a statement.
Further there would be no refund given on the cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets, expect if such cancellation is due to cancellation of trains/late running of trains for more than 3 hours. However in case of partially confirmed tickets, refund will be given for waiting list passenger.
Subash Gupta, president, Mumbai Yatri Sangh, says, “Though the time has been reduced to one day, it will at least ensure that tickets can be booked. Earlier it was impossible to book the tickets due to agents’ mischief. These touts used to book tickets and then sell it at inflated prices. Overall these new rules are passenger friendly.”
The Railways say that “during the journey, the passenger, whose identity card number has been indicated on the ticket, will have to produce original proof of identity indicated on the ticket, failing which all the passengers booked on the ticket shall be treated as travelling without ticket and charged accordingly.”
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