government on yesterday announced an additional free sale
quota (FSQ) of four lakh tonnes (LT) for the current January-March
quarter. This is over and above the 34-LT of sugar that
has already been released to sugar mills for offloading
in the open market during the quarter.
additional 4 LT FSQ included 2 LT released for January
and 1 LT each for February and March. Besides, two other
major moves were announced by the union minister for consumer
affairs, food and public distribution, Sharad Pawar, following
his meeting with the prime minister, Manmohan Singh.
include a decision to automatically convert any unsold
FSQ of mills into levy quota for the public distribution
system and extending the period of fulfilment of export
obligation for raw sugar imports against advance licences
from 24 months to 36 months.
a mill does not offload the FSQ released to it at the
end of the month, the unsold quantity would automatically
be converted as levy quota. This, along with the enhanced
FSQ for the current quarter, will enhance domestic availability,"
Pawar told reporters.
said that the decision to permit mills to fulfil their
export obligation within 36 months of undertaking duty-free
import of raw sugar against advance licences against
the existing stipulation of 24 months would also
help augment domestic availability of sugar.
decisions taken today will lead to lower sugar prices.
If the situation fails to improve, the government will
not hesitate to even allow import of white sugar at a
lower duty than the present 60 per cent," Pawar declared.
ascribed the price spiral over the last month to unnecessary
speculation by a section of the trade. "I have been
reading reports that
we had not made sufficient releases for the current quarter
and that is the reason for prices shooting up. There is
no basis for this perception," he said.