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Till a few years ago, the co-operative sugar mills were not in favour of removing government control. But now, the National Sugar Cooperative Factories Federation has also agreed to a free market
With India's sugar output expected to rebound in the next crop year, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said the time is now "proper" for the government to give a serious thought to decontrolling the sugar industry, reports PTI.
The government controls the sugar sector right from fixing the support price of cane to the quantity of sweetener to be sold in the open market every month.
"I honestly feel that the trend which I am observing, I hope this will continue. If the trend continues, this is the proper time to create a situation where nobody should come to the Food Ministry. This is a proper time to give a serious thought to withdraw various types of controls," Mr Pawar said.
The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), the apex body for private sugar mills, has been demanding the decontrol of the sector for some years now.
Till a few years ago, the co-operative sugar mills were not in favour of removing the government control. But now, the National Sugar Cooperative Factories Federation (NSCFF) has also agreed for a free market.
Mr Pawar had also said in May that government was not even thinking of decontrolling the industry.
Elaborating the sugar production trend, the minister said the country's sugar output has improved to 18.5 million tonne in the 2009-10 crop year (October-September) from the earlier estimate of around 16 million tonnes.
Also, the sown area under sugarcane for the next crop year is also higher, he said.
As per the official data, sugarcane has been planted in 47.37 lakh hectares till 1st July, against 41.79 lakh hectares in the same period last year.
Recently, the state cane commissioners have estimated sugar production in the 2010-11 crop year to be at 23 million tonne, while the industry bodies have pegged more than this.
India, the world's second biggest producer but largest consumer of sweetener, requires 23 million tonnes of sugar to meet its annual demand.