Import duty on sugar increased from 25 percent to 40 percent

Import duty on sugar increased from 25 percent to 40 percent

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval toincrease import duty on sugar from 25 percent to 40 percent.

In order improve the price sentiments relating to sugar, the Government has decided to take the following steps:

1)      The duty on import of sugar under the Open General License  (OGL) shall be increased to 40 percent, as against the current level of 25 percent.  This would prevent any imports in case international prices of sugar were to depress further.
2)      The “Duty Free Import Authorization” scheme (DFIA), for sugar would be withdrawn. Under the DFIA, exporters of sugar could import duty free, permissible quantities of raw sugar for subsequent processing and disposal. To prevent leakage of sugar made from such duty free imports in the domestic markets, the DFIA scheme for sugar would be withdrawn.
3)      Similarly, the period for discharging Export Obligations under the Advanced Authorization Scheme for sugar would be reduced to six  months, so as to prevent any possibility of any leakage into the domestic markets.
4)      Removal of excise duty on ethanol supplied for blending. It has been decided that ethanol produced from molasses generated during the next sugar season and supplied for ethanol blending would be exempted from excise duty and the price benefit would be passed on the to the sugar mills/distilleries.Presently 12.36 percent central excise duty is levied.

These measures will significantly improve the adverse price sentiments in respect of sugar and would improve the liquidity in the industry, facilitating the clearing up of arrears of canedues to farmers.


The past four years have witnessed continued overproduction of sugar as compared to domestic requirements. This has depressed sugar prices; consequently the mills have been constrained for liquidity and are facing difficulties in clearing cane dues owed to the farmers. This has affected the incomes of 50 million sugar cane farmers. Similar conditions of subdued prices prevail in the global markets. The Government has, from time to time, provided financial assistance to the industry to overcome liquidity constraints such as providing interest free working capital loans and incentives for raw sugar exports. However, due to adverse price sentiments plaguing the sector, problems of cane dues arrears persist. As on 31stMarch 2015, the cane dues arrears stood at  Rs.20,099 crore which is higher than the previous year.


Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2014

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for moving of the following Official Amendments in the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2014 :-

i. Doing away with the requirement for filing a declaration by a company before commencement of business or exercising its borrowing powers and

ii. rationalizing the procedure for laying draft notifications granting exemptions to various classes of companies or modifying provisions of the Act in Parliament, in order to ensure speedier issue of final notifications.

These Official Amendments will address issues related to ease of doing business and put in place a speedier process for approval of draft notifications for providing exemptions etc. from specific provisions of the Act to a class of companies.


NOC for renovation of abandoned Railway Line near World Heritage site Rani Ki Vav recommended only as permissible under rules and guidelines: Dr Mahesh Sharma

The National Monuments Authority (NMA) hasdecided to recommend grant of NOC for repair and renovation of an abandonedMeter Gauge Railway line near Rani Ki Vav, Patan (Gujarat) only after a proposal for an alternate alignment was submitted by Railways as permissible under rules and guidelines for heritage monuments. This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in reply to a starred question in Rajya Sabha today.Rani Ki Vav was added to the list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO in June last year, the Minister disclosed.

The Minister said that after the perusal of the original application submitted by Western Railways, it was observed by the NMA that this project involves construction work of railway track and it will adversely affect the protected site, hence, being in a prohibited area, as the distance of the proposed site of construction related activity from the main monument was 67 meters and from the protected boundary wall of the monument was 13 meters. Accordingly, NMA decided that the proposed construction was not permissible and the Railways may explore the realignment more seriously.

Dr Mahesh Sharma further explained that several meetings were held between officials of Railways, National Monuments Authority and Archaeological Survey of India to sort-out the issue and Railways submitted a proposal for renovation of abandoned MG Railway line near Rani-ki-Vav onan alternate alignment.

This was considered in the 121st Meeting held on 10.04.2015 and during the meeting it was decided to recommend grant of NOC for renovation of abandoned MG railway line on alternate alignment subject to ASI clearance with reference to the dossier submitted to UNESCO. The distance from the protected limit of the protected area of the monument has now been shown as 102.54 meters (beyond prohibited area), the Minister added. Dr Mahesh Sharma also explained that officials of both NMA and ASI have arrived at any conclusion only after making on-site inspections.


Monuments identified for Clean India Campaign

The Union Ministry of Culture launched Swacch Bharat Abhiyan on 25th September, 2014 under Clean India Campaign.

It is an initiative to clean all monuments premises and ensure:
(i)                 no garbage can be seen in the premises;
(ii)               to provide adequate amenities for visitors and to ensure that no litter is thrown inside monuments;
(iii)             to sensitize visitors as well as staff in maintaining monuments clean; and
(iv)             to provide waste management system.

The Campaign is followed for all centrally protected monuments in the country so that they are maintained in a good state of preservation and cleanliness.
The centrally protected monuments/sites are conserved, preserved and maintained by way of structural repairs on need basis, as per archaeological norms, subject to availability of resources.   In addition to conservation, preservation, maintenance and development of environs of centrally protected monuments, creating of tourist related amenities (e.g. drinking water, toilet blocks, facilities for physically challenged, pathways, cultural notice boards/signage, vehicle parking, cloak rooms, etc.) at the centrally protected monuments/sites are the regular activities which the ASI undertakes as per needs and availability of resources.

The funds allocated for the above purposes including for cleaning of monuments during the current financial year 2015-16 is Rs.104.00 crores under Plan and Rs.52.50 crores under Non-Plan.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha today.


Ancient Temples and Mosques under ASI

There are 1076 temples and 250 mosques as of national importance under the Archeological Survey of India in the Country.

There are 242 temples and 36 mosques from Karnataka under the Archeological Survey of India while 132 temples and 62 mosques from Uttar Pradesh fall under the same category.

Madhya Pradesh has 96 temples and 20 mosques within the purview of Archeological Survey of India.

The year of construction in respect of temples and mosques under ASI varies from 4th to 19th Century for temples and 12th to 19th Century for mosques.

The ancient temples and mosques declared as of national importance are in fairly good state of preservation and maintenance. These are periodically conserved, scientifically preserved and maintained as per established principles of conservation as and when needed, subject to availability of resources.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha today.


Proposals for declaration as World Heritage Cities

The Archaeological Survey of India has submitted the proposal of “The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai” and ‘Delhi – Imperial Capital Cities’ in 2014 to the World Heritage Centre for the purpose of its inscription. As of now, no city has been selected from Tamil Nadu to be declared as World Heritage City.

The property of ‘Delhi – Imperial Capital Cities’ has been evaluated by the ICOMOS in October 2014. The additional information as asked by ICOMOS has been provided to ICOMOS.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha today.



WAC Station Commanders’ Conference

A two day Annual Commanders’ Conference of Western Air Command was inaugurated by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha PVSM AVSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff, on 28 April 2015. Commanders of all the Air Force Stations under HQ WAC are attending the conference. The CAS, on his arrival at Command HQs, was received by Air Marshal SS Soman PVSM AVSM VM ADC, AOC-in-C, HQ WAC, and was presented a ceremonial Guard of Honour.

Speaking to the Commanders, the CAS emphasised the need to build up mission capability of all platforms and weapon systems. He reiterated the crucial role of Western Air Command in future operations and exhorted the Commanders to continue their effort in this direction. He stressed on aspects of Aerospace Safety. He also appreciated WAC’s rapid response, invaluable contribution and lead role in providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief over the past year that included Op Megh Rahat, Op Rahat, Op Neer (Male) and the ongoing Op Maitri. He stated that these contributions made the IAF and the nation proud. The CAS later addressed all Air Warriors of HQ WAC and acknowledged their hard work and professionalism.

During the conference, the Commanders would focus on operational preparedness and measures to enhance operational capability.

The CAS was accompanied by Mrs Lily Raha, President AFWWA, who was received by Mrs Rashmi Soman, President AFWWA (Regional) at Subroto Park. After a review of various welfare activities undertaken by units within WAC, she interacted with the Sanginis of WAC.


India has the Potential to Become a Global Leader in Food Processing Sector: Smt. Badal

India’s Food Processing Sector is Growing at 8.4 Per Cent

Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries today said that “India has the potential to become a global leader in food processing sector. Food processing sector has got the ability to integrate the gap between the farmers and the consumer”. Minister added that Food Processing is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and the sector is growing at 8.4 per cent.

Smt. Badal further said that Food Processing Industry is one of the major employment intensive segments constituting 13.04 per cent of employment generated in all Registered Factory sector in 2012-13, there is an immense potential in food processing sector to generate employment in the country.

Minister appreciated the performance of the sector reflected in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for Factory output in food processing sector, which stands at 5.7% (Apr.-Feb.) 2014-15 as compared to (-) 2.1% (Apr.-Feb.) 2013-14. The increase is mainly driven by growth in rice (11.8%), edible hydrogenated oil (5.6%) and milk, skimmed & pasteurised (1.4%).

Smt. Badal informed that 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permissible in food processing sector through automatic route except for items reserved for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). During (Apr-Jan.) 2014-15, the sector has attracted US $ 421.51 Million FDI in the country. Food Processing is one of the priority sectors under ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Prime Minister of India.

Minister said that during last six months, the average inflation rate for (Oct.-March) 2014-15 against (Oct.-March) 2013-14 for food articles & manufactured food items have witnessed a decline from 13% to 5.1% and from 1.8% to 1.5%respectively in 2014-15 as compared to 2013-14.

High level of wastages in perishables is a challenge but endeavour of the Government is to promote food processing industry to catalyze reduction of wastage of agricultural produce and ensuring higher returns to the farmers. With a view to promote the sector, the Government has been strengthening infrastructure by supporting creation of Cold chain and Mega Food Park under the Central Sector Scheme of Infrastructure Development. Recently, Ministry has sanctioned 17 new Mega Food Parks to attract investment in the sector and will sanction approx. 30 more new Cold Chain projects.


Import duty on sugar increased from 25 percent to 40 percent Import duty on sugar increased from 25 percent to 40 percent Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 7:38 PM Rating: 5

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