Companies & Sectors
Rangarajan panel for giving freedom to mills to sell sugar

The Rangarajan Committee also suggested doing away with the system of levy sugar, under which the mills are required to sell 10% of their production to the government at below market price for running ration shops

New Delhi: The Rangarajan Committee on Friday recommended deregulation of the sugar sector, the only remaining industry that continues to be controlled by the government, by giving freedom to mills to sell sugar in the open market, reports PTI.
It has also suggested doing away with the system of levy sugar, under which the mills are required to sell 10% of their production to the government at below market price for running ration shops.
While other sectors of the economy has been freed, the sugar industry continues to remain under the government control, right from the level of production to distribution.
The Centre fixes the quantity of sugar that mills can sell in the open market and ration shops.
"Rationalisation of sugarcane pricing and liberalisation of sugar trade need to be introduced over a two to three year period, in a calibrated and phased manner. However, levy sugar obligation and administrative control on non-levy sugar need to be dispensed with immediately," the Committee, headed by Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C Rangarajan said in a report.
Levy sugar is meant for distribution in the ration shops, while non-levy sugar is for sale in the open market.
The report was submitted to the Prime Minister today. In January, the Prime Minister had set up an expert committee to examine issues related to decontrolling the sugar sector.
"Markets in almost all sectors in India are constantly matching anticipated demands with supply. There is no particular reason why sugar market would not be able to do this," the Committee said.
The mechanism of regulated release of non-levy sugar imposes costs directly on mills (and hence indirectly on farmers) on account of inventory accumulation, inability to plan cash flows, the committee said, and advocated that "since this mechanism is not serving any useful purpose, it may be dispensed with".



Dr Anantha K Ramdas

5 years ago

Thanks for giving the brief on the sugar controls as they exist today; why not follow the rest of the industry and simply withdraw total controls?

Encourage the sugar mills to volunteer and supply 5 to 10% of their production to Government at the most economical price to facilitate them to offer the same to aam aadmi through ration shops who are categorised as " below poverty line". Does the government want to have this BPL group for the rest of their lifetime? Everyone is making an effort to come out of this grip and let not government measures "perpetuate" the situation.

If sugar is decontrolled, even as an experimental basis, let it function for a limited period, starting from now, till the next "festival" season, and assess the situation. It can always be brought back on control if the need arises.

If other industries have made progres, being left "free" of controls, there is no reason why anyone should punish the sugar industry!

Leave it to grow. It is survival of the fittest.

RTI should be circumscribed if it encroaches on privacy: PM

According to Manmohan Singh, citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone's personal privacy

Delhi: Voicing concern over frivolous and vexatious use of Right to Information (RTI) Act, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said the citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if it encroaches on an individual's privacy, reports PTI.
"There is a fine balance required to be maintained between the right to information and the right to privacy, which stems out of the fundamental right to life and liberty.
The citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone's personal privacy. But where to draw the line is a complicated question," he said.
Addressing the seventh Convention of Central Information Commissioners (CICs), the Prime Minister said, "There are concerns about frivolous and vexatious use of the Act in demanding information disclosure of which cannot possibly serve any public purpose." 
Singh said such queries besides serving little productive purpose are also a drain on the resources of public authorities, diverting precious man-hours that could be put to better use.
"Sometimes information covering a long time-span or a large number of cases is sought in an omnibus manner with the objective of discovering an inconsistency or mistake which can be criticised," he said.
Touching upon the area of public-private partnerships, the Prime Minister said blanket extension of the RTI Act to such bodies may discourage private enterprises to enter in partnership with public sector whereas blanket exclusion may harm accountability of public officials.
The Prime Minister's remarks come close on the heels of the Supreme Court as also the Central Information Commission's adverse criticism of frivolous RTI applications.

Stressing on the privacy issue, Singh said the issue of a separate legislation on privacy is under consideration of an expert group under Justice AP Shah.

Referring to a recent Supreme Court order terming Information Commissions as judicial bodies, the Prime Minister said the government has decided to go in for review of the verdict before the apex court.

Singh said there was also a need to change perceptions about the right to information, noting that it should not be viewed as an irritant "but something that is good for us collectively".

"Rights cannot stand in isolation and must always be accompanied by reciprocal obligation...I believe that all of us share a responsibility to promote more constructive and productive use of the Right to Information Act. This important legislation should not only be about criticising, ridiculing and running down public authorities," he said.

Singh said the Act should be more about promoting transparency and accountability, spreading information and awareness and empowering the citizen.

"I believe that the right to information can be utilised for even better results to the benefit of our country and the people. It needs to be remembered that the ultimate goal of the legislation is to induce more efficiency in the work of the government and help it serve the people better," he said.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Personnel and Training V Narayanasamy said there is a need to create awareness about responsible use of the Act.

"It has to be ensured that it (information) does not infringe upon personal sensitive information of individuals.

Personal liberty is very important. Each society has its own concept of privacy. There is need to define what is personal information and what is sensitive information," he said.

He said people using the RTI Act to expose corruption must be protected and Whistleblowers' Protection Bill is a step in that direction.



nagesh kini

5 years ago

It is in deed sad that a person of Dr. Man Mohan Singh's stature, apart from being the PM of India, should make such statements. Let the PMO clarify what exactly he has in mind

Yes, the RTI has indeed been abused by so-called pseudo intellectuals as a tool of harassment, but never by the common man. At the same time it has benefited many. The results have been positive all along.
Only the guilty oppose it.


5 years ago

The Hon.PM may limit RTI queries to SIX in a year!!

India's industrial growth slows to 2.7% in August

Industrial output during April-August was 0.4%, down from 5.6% in the same period last year

New Delhi: India's industrial growth slowed to 2.7% in August due to poor show by the manufacturing sector and contraction in capital goods output, which may prompt the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut key interest rates in its second quarter policy review later this month, reports PTI.
Industrial output in the April-August period this fiscal was 0.4%, down from 5.6% in the same period in 2011-12, according to the official data.
Growth in overall factory output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 3.4% in August last year.
The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew at slow rate of 2.9% in August, as against 3.9% in the same month last year.
The production growth in the manufacturing sector in April-August was flat, as against 6% growth in the same period in 2011-12.
Capital goods output contracted by 1.7% in August, as against 4% growth in August, 2011.
Output of capital goods contracted in the April-August period by 13.8%, as against growth of 7.3% in the 2011-12 period.
However, mining output in August grew by 2% as against contraction of 5.5% in same month last year.
The sector's production in April-August declined by 0.6%, compared to a contraction of 0.5% in same period a year ago.
Consumer goods production was up 5% in August as compared to a meagre growth of 2.1% in same month last year. During the April-August period of this fiscal, the growth in the segment was 3.5%, compared to 4.4% in the five month period a year ago. .
In all, 13 of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed positive growth in August.
Consumer durables production growth slowed to 4% in August, compared to 5% in the same month last year.
The output of these goods registered a growth of 5.7% during April-August, as against 4.5% in the same period in 2011-12.
The consumer non-durables output growth improved to 5.8% in August, as against a contraction of 0.7% in the same month last year. This segment grew by 1.6% in first five months of this fiscal, as against 4.3% in the same period of 2011-12.
The basic goods production growth slowed to 2.8% in August, as against 5.8% a year ago. During April- August period, this segment recorded a growth of 2.8% compared to 7.6% in the five months of last fiscal
Power generation witnessed a dip in growth rate as it declined to 1.9% during August, compared to 9.5% in the same month a year ago.
Electricity generation increased by 4.8% in the April-August period of this fiscal, as against 9.5% in the same period in 2011-12.
The Reserve Bank will come out with second quarter monetary policy review on 30th October. The central bank has been holding key interest rates for some time in view of sticky inflationary pressures.


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