Empowering the backbone of our nation, the farmers, has always been a top priority for the Central Government. To ensure that sugarcane farmers receive their dues promptly and without any hardship, the government has implemented various policy interventions over the years. These steps have not only stabilized the sugar industry but also created a positive impact on the lives of farmers across the country.
In the pursuit of easing the burden of outstanding dues for sugarcane farmers, the Central Government has taken strategic measures that encompass fair pricing, financial assistance to mills, and the diversion of surplus sugar for ethanol production. These interventions have led to significant progress, with a substantial percentage of dues being cleared for the sugar seasons up to 2020-21. Furthermore, the powers to monitor and take action against payment delays have been entrusted to the State Governments, ensuring timely disbursement of dues.
Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP):
- The Central Government fixes the Fair and Remunerative Price of sugarcane, considering various factors.
- This move ensures that farmers receive fair compensation for their produce.
Minimum Selling Price of Sugar:
- To prevent falling ex-mill prices of sugar and the accumulation of cane arrears, the Minimum Selling Price of sugar was fixed.
- It was initially set at ₹29/kg (effective from 07-06-2018) and later revised to ₹31/kg (effective from 14-02-2019).
Financial Assistance to Mills:
- The government extended financial assistance of over ₹18,000 crore to sugar mills over seven years (from sugar season 2014-15 to 2020-21).
- This resulted in the clearance of farmers’ dues, providing them with much-needed relief.
Ethanol Production from Surplus Sugar:
- Encouraging the diversion of surplus sugar to ethanol production proved beneficial for sugar mills.
- Improved financial conditions of mills enabled them to clear cane dues more promptly.
Significant Dues Clearance:
- As a result of these concerted efforts, approximately 99.9% of cane dues up to sugar seasons 2020-21 have been cleared.
- For the previous sugar season 2021-22, more than 99.9% of cane dues have been cleared.
- As of 17th July 2023, around 91.6% of cane dues for the current Sugar Season 2022-23 have been cleared.
- According to the report submitted by the Minister of State for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, there has been a consistent decline in outstanding cane arrears over the past five years.
- State Governments have been delegated the authority to monitor cane price payments and take suitable action in case of payment delays.
The Central Government’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of sugarcane farmers has resulted in remarkable progress in clearing dues. Through thoughtful policy interventions, financial assistance, and the promotion of ethanol production, the government has created a conducive environment for the sugar industry and, most importantly, has alleviated the hardships faced by farmers. With State Governments actively monitoring payment positions, the journey towards timely and fair compensation continues. As we move ahead, it is heartening to witness the positive impact of these initiatives, ensuring that our farmers’ hard work and dedication are duly rewarded.