ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sugar- More Imports with Reluctance

Pampering Vanaspati Industry AD HOCISM continues to mark the government's policy in regard to the import as well as marketing of edible oils. The quantum of annual imports has not been closely related to changes in indigenous availability. This is amply borne out by record edible oil purchases (16.6 lakh tonnes) during the crop year 1983-84 (November-October) which, on official reckoning, was a year of record indigenous production. Nor can it be said that the strategy evolved by the State Trading Corporation (at the instance of the govern- ment, of course) for marketing imported oils has ever been designed to make an impact on domestic prices. One can always argue that domestic prices would have ruled still higher but for the large supply of imported oils. It is common knowledge that almost half of the imported oil has been sold to the vanaspati industry at concessional rates to maintain informal price control which has been honoured more in breach than in observance. Besides, quite a large proportion of the oil routed through the co-operative agencies for supply under the public distribution system got diverted to the market to be picked up by vanaspati units. It is only when the vanaspati industry's oil requirements were met in full by STC and co-operative agencies were eliminated from the scene that most of the oil allocated for public distribution was made available on ration cards.

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