Sugar GoM to meet today

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Sept 11 | Updated: Sep 12 2007, 05:02am hrs
The group of ministers (GoM) on sugar headed by the external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee is slated to meet on Wednesday and deliberate on the issue of deferment of payment of excise duty, bringing ethanol under central sales tax regime and national cane pricing policy.

The GoM had earlier approved 5% mandatory blending of auto-fuel with ethanol from October this year and Nabard package for the cooperative sugar mills. Both these proposals are sent to the Union Cabinet for final approval.

The industry has asked for deferment of payment of excise duty as they were crippled on account of drought in two successive years in the major cane growing regions. This year they faced the problem of falling sugar prices on account of surplus production. The finance ministry is, however, opposed to the idea of the deferment of payment of excise duty by sugar mills.

The GoM consists of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, finance minister P Chidambarm, commerce minister Kamal Nath, apart from Mukherjee who chairs the panel. The GoM is also slated to deliberate on declaring ethanol as goods of special category under 5A of Central Sales Tax Act.

At present state governments are allowed to impose state levy on ethanol and the sales taxes imposed by state governments vary widely.