The government on Friday bowed to pressure from sugarcane farmers, opposition parties and some of its own leaders and allies and announced a rollback on the sugar control order that has paralysed Parliament for the last two days.
The order mandated that state governments would have to foot the difference between the central and state advised price on sugarcane.
The offending clause in the government’s ordinance will now be dropped and the burden shifted to mill owners.
A new bill with these changes will be tabled on Monday.
The rollback decision was hammered out at a ministerial meeting on Thursday night after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi had, earlier in the day, sought a resolution.
The new proposal was placed before UPA partners at a meeting convened by Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the House in Lok Sabha, on Friday after the two Houses were adjourned.
After getting the endorsement of UPA partners — including the DMK and Trinanool Congress that were opposed to the ordinance — the government got the backing of other formations at the all-party meeting held immediately thereafter.
This included Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, which had spearheaded the farmers’ agitation and mobilised support against the ordinance from parties ranging from the BJP to the Left and Samajwadi Party.
Armed with unanimity, the government issued a statement admitting that the clause that said state governments have to pay the difference between the SAP and fair and remunerative price for sugarcane had given rise to “misgivings”.
“To remove misgivings, it is proposed to delete this clause. If the state announces a SAP, it will be the responsibility of sugar mills to pay the SAP to farmers,’’ said the statement.