The sugar industry has been a prime beneficiary of liberalisation, said C. Rangarajan, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, on Friday.
Delivering the keynote address at a three-day conference of sugarcane growers organised by the Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations, he said the deregulation of the industry in the late 1990s had resulted in the doubling of the growth of output. The liberalisation of the industry, he argued, had resulted in more investment flowing into the sector, which resulted in the industry becoming more competitive. Mr. Ranganarajan, who headed a committee that recently presented a report to the Union government, recommending steps for the next round of deregulation of the industry, said the “dismantling of the levy obligation” of sugar mills would make them “more competitive, efficient and profitable.” This will benefit growers, millers and consumers, he said. The earlier regime of “cane area reservation” and locational restrictions on establishment of new capacities had resulted in farmers losing the freedom to choose who they would sell sugarcane to, Mr. Rangarajan said. They had to also suffer “delayed payments” and “unfair” prices.