New Delhi: An empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on Tuesday gave its nod for sugar exports of up to five lakh tonnes amid prospects of surplus production in the current season. The export of sugar would be allowed under general licence.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar along with sugar industry and farmers’ association has also been demanding the lifting of ban over the export or sugar.

However, the EGoM headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee could not mull over the provisions of Food Security Act.

The meeting took this decision following a hectic debate over the data of production and demand, as the government was in a dilemma lifting ban over export of sugar.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had also written to Mukherjee stating that sugar export should be allowed to prevent a situation of cane arrears to farmers. Food Minister KV Thomas has also given his concern in this regard.

Expressing doubt over the Food Ministry’s data, Commerce Ministry has instructed for its rechecking which had irked the officials of the Food Ministry.

On the other hand, the sugar prices were constantly declining due to ban on its export affecting its market price.

With India's sugar production estimated to rise to 24.5 million tonnes in 2011-12 (October-September), against domestic demand of 22 million tonnes, the government had earlier allowed mills to meet their export obligations of about one million tonnes under the Advance Licence Scheme (ALS).

JPN/ Bureau