Sugar Industry Current Affairs - 2020

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President gives assent to The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015

President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to the Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to raise the ceiling of a cess as an excise duty on the production of sugar.

The bill was first passed by Lok Sabha after it was declared a money bill. President gave his assent as per provisions of Article 111 of Constitution after the bill was not returned by the Rajya Sabha to the Lok Sabha within 14 days of its consideration as per constitutional provisions.

Key facts

  • The amendment Bill seeks to amend the The Sugar Cess Act, 1982 which provides legal provision for the imposition of a cess as an excise duty on the production of sugar.
  • The Bill proposes to increase this ceiling of sugar to Rs 200 per quintal from existing Rs 25 per quintal specified in the principal Act.
  • The principal Act empowers central government to fix the rate of sugar cess from time to time.

Implications of hike in sugar cess

It would lead to increase in the accruals to the Sugar Development Fund (SDF) which in turn would facilitate rehabilitation and modernisation of sugar mills and thereby helping cane growers. In present scenario, it will help in revival of stagnant sugar economy by helping cash-starved mills and sugarcane growers.

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Union Cabinet approves Rs 6,000 crore interest-free loan to sugar mills

Union Cabinet approved an interest-free loan i.e. soft loan to the tune of 6,000 crore rupees to enable sugar mills pay arrears to farmers.

Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Apart from this decision cabinet also approved hike in prices of Ethanol.

As per this decision, interest on the loan will not be charged for a year but the interest will be borne by the Union government from sugar development fund.  The money to be paid as arrears to farmers under this loan will be directed credited in Jan Dhan accounts of farmers.

It should be noted that Sugar mills in India owe over 21,000 crore rupees to farmers because they were not able to sell sugar stocks which have remained unsold due to falling prices of raw sugar in domestic and international markets.

Apart from these decisions Union Cabinet also

  • Approved promulgation of negotiable instruments ordinance which to allow courts hear dispute of bouncing of cheques in the payee’s location.
  • Allowed three plants to produce urea out of Naptha in Madras Fertilizers Ltd (Tamil Nadu), Southern Petrochemicals Industries Corporation (Andhra Pradesh) and Mangalore Chemical and Fertilizers Ltd (Karnataka) respectively.

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