EC nod to import duty-free sugar
To soften the prices of sugar before the general election, the Election Commission has given go ahead to government decision to import raw as well as refined sugars at zero custom duty under the open general licence scheme.
Unlike the advance licence scheme, the sugar importers don’t have to meet any export duty obligation under the open licence scheme. The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) last week and a notification announcing 60% duty free will be released soon by the finance ministry.
“The decision has been taken for abolition of duty on import of both raw and refined sugar,” informed the Commerce Secretary G K Pillai to the reporters on the sideline of a function on Monday in New Delhi.
‘It is to stabilise the price of sugar that has shot up to Rs 23-25 per kg from Rs 17-18 per kg in August 2008. As India is the biggest consumer of sugar, it’s extremely essential to check the prices of sugar,’ Pillai added.
Though the government had finalised the move, it needed consent of the Election Commission for announcing any popular decision during general election as the model code of conduct is in place.
By this, the government has allowed public sector trading firms MMTC, STC and PEC, and agri co-operative Nafed to import 10 lakh tonnes of refined sugar at zero duty by August 2009.
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