New Delhi: Catering to the longstanding demand from the sugar industry, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up an expert committee, headed by his Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan, to look into issues of decontrolling the sector.

The industry is at present fully controlled by the government, right from production level to distribution.

” The committee will look into all issues relating to deregulation of the sugar sector and it has been requested to complete its task as early as possible and give its recommendations to the Prime Minister,” an official statement said on Friday.

Earlier this month, representatives of apex sugar industry bodies ISMA and NFCSF had met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, seeking partial decontrol of the sector, including freedom to sell sugar in the open market and doing away with the obligation to supply sugar at lower rates, for distribution through ration shops.

Under the levy obligation, sugar mills are required to sell 10 per cent of their output to the government at cheaper rate for distribution under the Public Distribution System.

According to industry estimates, millers incur a loss of about Rs 2,500- 3,000 crore to meet levy obligations.

Hailing governments decision, Indian Sugar Mills Association ( ISMA) Director General Abinash Verma said: ” I hope this panel consisting of experienced government officials and experts in this field would submit its report early for the benefit of industry as well as farmers”.

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