The government has allowed bulk sugar users like soft drink and ice cream manufacturers to import raw sugar at zero duty from Thursday in order to keep the prices of the sweetener at a reasonable level.
About 60 per cent of India's total sugar demand of 23 million tonnes is from bulk consumers, like manufacturers of soft drinks, biscuits and confectionery.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs, which notified the order on 31 March, said raw sugar would attract zero duty if imported by bulk users in the next one year.
The imported raw sugar was meant for refining in the sugar factories in UP, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The government since April 2009 has already allowed mills to import raw and refined sugar without duty till December 2010.
Meanwhile, according to the ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution, Indian Railways have lifted 80 rakes of imported sugar in March 2010 from Gandhidham area (Kandla and Mundra ports).