Under attack from the opposition for its "industry friendly" sugarcane pricing policy, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said it was complete scrapping of the sugarcane ordinance that would, in fact, help mill owners.
"Certain sections" were pressing for complete withdrawal of the sugarcane ordinance, which would have resulted in a windfall of Rs 14,000 crore for the sugar mills at the cost of the central exchequer, he told reporters here.
The government, after a wave of protests from farmers and opposition leaders, has agreed to drop a clause that sought to put the onus on states to pay farmers the difference if they announce a support price higher than one fixed by the Centre.
"Certain sections were interested that we should withdraw the total ordinance," he said, adding that one of the provisions in the ordinance relates to removal of a liability of Rs 14,000 crore that the Centre would have to pay to the mills against levy sugar, which it buys for the ration shops.
The Centre and the mills were involved in a legal battle over the basis for determining the levy price. After a court ruling favoured mills, the government brought in a clause in the ordinance that allowed it to escape the burden.
"So, the Bill which we were thinking to introduce and get cleared was to protect the interest of the farmers vis-a-vis millers. But those who were insisting that we should totally withdraw the Bill...I do not know whether they realise whom they were really helping," Pawar wondered aloud.