Discussing ways to address sugarcane arrear issue: Paswan

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New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) In a bid to help sugar millers in paying off their arrears, the government is contemplating measures like cess on sugar sale, subsidy to cane farmers and tax-reduction in ethanol production, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Monday.

A Group of Ministers including Paswan, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan held meeting here to find ways to help sugar mills in clearing the pending dues to farmers, which has gone over Rs 18,000 crore now.

Paswan said the suggestions discussed in the meeting were imposing cess on the sugar to raise the corpus for Sugar Development Fund (SDF), giving subsidy to farmers to lower the cost of production and and reducing the GST from 18 per cent to five per cent to increase production of ethanol.

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He said the proposal would be put before the Cabinet soon.

According to an official, sugarcane payment arrears has surged to Rs 18,004 crore as on April 14.

He said payment arrears of Rs 8,869 crore is owned by sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh while it is Rs 2,420 crore in Karnataka and Rs 2,213 crore inr Maharashtra.

Sugarcane production in the country this year has reached 29.09 million tonnes so far and it is likely to cross 30 million mark by end of this month.

–IANS

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