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The government is considering to remove export duty on sugar to boost shipments in view of fall in domestic prices on estimated rise in production, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said today. At present, there is 20 per cent export duty on sugar. "Sugar production is estimated to rise nearly 24.9 million tonnes in 2017-18 season (October-September) from 20.2 million tonnes in the previous year," Paswan told reporters. Industry has pegged production at 26 million tonnes and the government will review its estimates based on input from sugar producing states.
The domestic demand is 24-25 million tonnes annually. In view of rise in sugar output, the minister said the government has already doubled import duty to 100 per cent to check cheaper imports from overseas markets, particularly Pakistan. That apart, he said the government has put a quantitative restrictions on mills for domestic sales for two months. Asked about industry demand to scrap export duty, Paswan said: "the government is considering this". With domestic prices falling below cost of production, sugar industry bodies Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) and National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) had met senior food ministry officials last month, seeking hike in sugar import duty from 50 per cent to 100 per cent and scrapping of export duty of 20 per cent to liquidate surplus sugar.
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