The government on Thursday lifted the ban on sugar exports in view of a high domestic production and a comfortable buffer stock.
"We have got firm estimates of production for the sugar year. We have taken into account all these facts and have come to the decision of lifting the ban," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said. The decision to lift the ban – imposed in July last year to check spiralling prices - was taken at a meeting on the Cabinet Committee on Prices on Thursday. Other decisions taken by the Cabinet and its committees that met on Thursday evening, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), were:
· The Union Cabinet approved setting up a Central Drugs Authority of India and a five-year phased transition from the present system of granting manufacturing licenses at state level to complete central licensing of drug manufacturing units at the Centre.
· The Cabinet approved a Special Incentive Package Scheme to attract investment in setting up semiconductor fabrication facilities and other micro and nano-technology manufacturing facilities.
· The CCEA approved setting up a 412-megawatt hydroelectric project in Shimla and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh. The Rs 2047 crore-worth project is expected to be commissioned by 2011-12.
· The CCS approved raising 20 additional battalions of Indo-Tibetan Border Police from the existing 25 battalions to permit rotation of jawans in low altitude posts. ITBP jawans spent two-third of their working years in high altitude posts; fresh recruitment over the next three years would ensure that they can spend half of their working lives in low-altitude posts.
· The Cabinet referred the controversial draft pharmaceutical policy to a Group of Ministers for examination.
· The CCEA approved setting up an extension centre of the National Institute of Fashion Technology at Rae Bareli beginning from the next academic year.