State finance minister Jayant Patil, in his reply to the debate on the state budget for 2007-08, in the state legislature on Thursday, announced a waiver of the sugarcane purchase tax for 2006-07 for the states sugar industry which is struggling to tackle excess sugarcane and falling sugar prices.
Patil said the decision was aimed at providing some relief to the beleagured industry. The sugar factories which have already paid the purchase tax for this period will be compensated for, next year, he added. Due to adverse factors like falling prices, it has become difficult for the sugar industry to even pay the statutory price to sugarcane growers, Patil said.
Patils package is crucial as the Centre has announced a hefty Rs 850-crore package comprising a buffer stock of 20 lakh tonne and an export subsidy for the sugar industry.
Patil also announced a hike of Rs 20 lakh in the legislators development fund, which would now be of Rs 1 crore compared to an earlier amount of Rs 80 lakh.
The announcement followed noisy scenes created by the ruling and Opposition members in the legislature last week demanding that the fund be increased to at least Rs 2 crore.