The centre has released about Rs 15,948 crore under different schemes in the last five years till January 31 to various sugar mills to improve their liquidity for clearing cane price dues of farmers, Parliament was informed on Friday. Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel said the central government, with a view to improve liquidity of the sugar mills enabling them to clear cane price dues of farmers, has announced these schemes in the last five years.

These schemes include the creation and maintenance of a buffer stock of 30 lakh tonne of sugar with effect from July 2018 to June 30, 2019; scheme for defraying expenditure towards internal transport, freight, handling, and other charges on the export of sugar season 2018-19; and assistance to sugar mills season 2019-20 to facilitate the export of sugar.

A scheme for providing assistance to sugar mills for expenses on marketing costs including, handling, upgrading and other processing costs, and internal transport and freight charges for sugar season 2020-21, 2019-20 and 2018-19 was also announced.

“Under these schemes, a sum of about Rs 15,948 crore has been released to various sugar mills of the country in last five financial years including the current financial year till January 31, 2024,” Patel said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

In a separate reply, she said that the government has initiated an exercise to create a new online platform to connect exporters with various stakeholders, including Indian Missions abroad, export promotion councils, and other partner government agencies.

It would help provide information such as the details of various trade events being organised and provide information on various Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Replying to a question on FTA, she said that imports of wines and vermouth (a kind of aromatic fortified) from Australia stood at USD 8.9 million during the January-December 2023 as against USD 10 million in the same period of 2022.

During the April-December 2023, India’s exports to Australia have grown by 13.78 per cent as compared to corresponding period in 2022, whereas imports from Australia declined by 16.93 per cent, thereby reducing the trade deficit by 35.26 per cent,” Patel said.

On wheat export question, the minister said that during the April-November 2023, India has exported wheat to the UAE, Nepal, Iraq. The total exports in that period stood at 96,447 tonnes.

Wheat export in general is banned and the government allows the shipments only on government basis.

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