New Delhi– The Centre on Wednesday proposed allowing duty-free import of 500,000 tonnes of raw sugar until June 12, following estimates of domestic production marking the lowest level in the last seven years.

According to a government official, there is a 40 per cent import duty on sugar.

As per the sugar industry’s latest estimates, the output is expected to range between 19.7 and 20.3 million tonnes this year (October 2016-September 2017), which is almost five million tonnes lower than the last year.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), which represents the private sugar industry, has brought down its estimates to 20.3 million tonnes from the earlier estimates of 23.4 million tonnes in September last year.

The National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories’ (NFCSF) estimates are pegged at 19.7 million tonnes.

This led to demands, mostly from refiners, for sugar imports in order to fill the gap between demand and supply.

NFCSF said the duty-free import of 500,000 tonnes will not have any impact on retail prices.

“As the amount of imports is not much against the total consumption, I do not think there will be any impact on domestic industry and retail prices. The prices will remain stable,” said Prakash Naiknavre, Managing Director of NFCSF. (IANS)


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