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Navigating The Sugarcane Labyrinth In Uttar Pradesh
Sugarcane is at the centre of Western Uttar Pradesh’s economy and politics and Uttar Pradesh as a state is India’s largest producer of sugarcane with around 50 per cent of the crop and 38 per cent of sugar production.
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The Central and the State Governments have enacted several acts and framed rules to regulate the supply of sugarcane to the scheduled sugar industries, and to secure equitable distribution and availability at fair price shops. The main aim of such legislations is to promote the sugar industry by eliminating unnecessary impediments in the production of sugar along with ensuring a fair deal to the grower of the sugarcane. However, the legal landscape of the sugar sector has become so complex that there are around 88 acts and by laws governing the Sugar Sector in the State of Uttar Pradesh alone.
The Current Legal Ecosystem in Uttar Pradesh
The U.P. Sugar and Power Alcohol Industries Labour Welfare and Development Fund Act, 1950 was enacted to make better provisions for financing measures for promoting the welfare of labour employed in the sugar and power alcohol industries, and for the development of these industries. The U.P. Sugar and Power Alcohol Industries Labour Welfare and Development Fund (Supplementary) Act, 1953 was enacted to supplement the 1950 Act.
The U.P. Sugar & Power Alcohol Industries, Labour Welfare & Development Fund Rules, 1951 made the provisions for the formation of the Housing Board and the Advisory Committee and the Sub-Committees: Finance Sub-Committee and Local Area Sub-Committee. Further the Rules regulating the use of Building financed out of the Housing Account of the Fund for Labour employed in the Sugar and Power Alcohol Industries were also laid down.
The U.P. Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply & Purchase) Act, 1953 was enacted to regulate the supply and purchase of sugarcane required for use in sugar factories and Gur, Rab or Khandsari Sugar Manufacturing Units and laid down the provisions regarding administrative machinery, supply and purchase of cane, etc.
The U.P. Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply & Purchase) Rules, 1954 were laid down in exercise of the power conferred by the section 23 of the U.P. Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply & Purchase) Act, 1953 and deal with Sugarcane Board, Cane Development Council, Inspectors, weightment, Commission on purchase of cane, Cane-growers’ Co-operative Society, Arbitration, Penalties and power of the State Government to exempt any person from the operation of these rules. The Governor in the exercise of the power laid down under the section 16 of the U.P. Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply & Purchase) Act, 1953 made the U.P. Sugarcane Supply & Purchase Order, 1954.
With the delegation of the powers, conferred on the Central Government under section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, to the State Government, the State Government of U.P. made the U.P. Sugar and Gur Dealers Licensing Order, 1962. The U.P. Sugar (Control) Order, 1966 was made and the provisions regarding the identity cards were laid down and the powers under clauses 6, 7, 8, and 9 conferred on the Central Government were delegated on the State Government and the Governor of U.P.in the exercise of such powers made the U.P. Restriction on Sugarcane Purchase Order, 1966. Also, the state government of U.P. made the U.P. Vacuum Pan Sugar Factories Licensing Order, 1969 with the exercise of the powers under the clause 15 of the order of 1966. The U.P. Khandsari Sugar Manufacturer’s Licensing Order, 1967 was also made by the Government of U.P. under the order of 1966.
In exercise of the powers under Rule 114(2) of the Defence of India Rules, 1971 and with the prior concurrence of the Central Government, the Governor made the U.P. Khandsari Sugar (Levy) Order, 1975.
For specifically dealing with the sugarcane growers and sugarcane mills and ensuring that the dues of cane-growers and labourers are given higher priority than the State Government taxes, the U.P. Sugar Undertaking (Acquisition) Act, 1971 was enacted. To consolidate the law dealing with the imposition of cess on sugarcane intended for use and consumption in or sale to a factory or a manufacturing unit, the U.P. Sugarcane Cess Act, 1956, the U.P. Sugarcane Cess Rules, 1956 and the U.P. Sugarcane Cess (Validation) Act, 1961 were enacted.
Another Act was passed by the U.P. Legislature, the U.P. Sheera Niyantran Adhiniyam, 1964, which laid down the provisions regarding the constitution of an Advisory committee, the appointment of the controller of molasses and the preservation, distribution and prices of molasses. Further, in exercise of the powers under Section 3 and 22 (2)(a), and(b) of this Act, the Governor of U.P. came up with the U.P. Molasses Advisory Committee Rules, 1965. This was followed by the rules of 1974, i.e., the U.P. Sheera Niyantaran Niyamavali, 1974.
The U.P. Rab (Movement Control) Order, 1967, laid down the provisions dealing with the restrictions on export of rab from State and movement to or within the border area. The U.P. Gur (Restriction on Border Movement) Order, 1963 deals with restriction on payment of gur to or within the border area.
Meanwhile, there are a number of legislations passed by the Central Government dealing with the Sugarcane namely: the Sugar Control Order, 1966, the Sugarcane Control Order, 1966, the Sugarcane Press-Mud (Control) Order, 1959, the Levy Sugar Supply Control Order, 1979, the Sugar (Price Determination for 1990-91 Production) Order, 1990, the Imported Sugar (Price Fixation) Order, 2000, the Sugar Restriction on Movement Order, 1979, the Sugar (Retention and Sale by Recognized Dealers) Order, 1979, the Sugarcane Cess (Validation) Act, 1961, the Sugar Restriction on Movement Order, 1979, the Sugar Export Promotion Act, 1958, the Sugar Export Promotion Rules, 1973, the Sugar Cess Act, 1982, the Sugar Undertaking (Taking over of Management) Act, 1978, and many more.
There are many Service Acts and Rules also dealing with the aforementioned issue. The U.P. Cane Development Department Ministerial Service Rules, 1978 states that the Uttar Pradesh Cane Development Department Ministerial Service is a subordinate service comprising of Group ‘C’ posts and made rules about the cadre, recruitment, qualifications, appointment, probation, seniority, pay, etc. The U.P. Sugar Department Ministerial Service Rules, 1980 states that the U.P. Sugar Department Ministerial Service is a non-gazetted service comprising of group ‘G; posts. The other enactments stating the service rules are the U.P. Ganna Paryavekshak (Group III) Services Rules. 1978, the U.P. Sugarcane Inspectors' Service Rules, 1979, the U.P. Cane (Gazetted) Service Rules, 1979, the U.P. Subordinate Cane (Statistics) Service Rules, 1979, the U.P. Subordinate Cane (Group I & II General) Service Rules, 1979, the U.P. Cane Co-operative Service Regulations. 1975.
The need for Change: Sugar Code
With the much-awaited agricultural amendments coming in, which definitely will benefit the sector and will prove to be a constructive step in making India a 5 trillion economy by 2025. The Sugar Sector in Uttar Pradesh also needs a major systematic overhaul to simplify the cobweb of laws and provide with a more systematic code for the greater good. It is imperative that the laws in the Sugar Sector are simplified and consolidated for the sake of transparency, and uniformity in definitions and approach.
A major issue with too many legislations is its accessibility. Legislations must be efficacious and effective and that will happen when the purpose for which they were enacted were realized. Too many scattered legislations affect the accessibility and thus efficacy.
Consolidation is one way in which legislations could be made more accessible as it integrates existing statutes usually within a single generic topic and amalgamate it with amendments in a new single text. The coordination between state organs is another problem while complying with laws as there may be two laws on same subject by different level and state wise authorities. The quantity of legislation harms the quality of legislation. The best of laws can become redundant if they are in a chaotic and disorganized form. A Sugar Code consolidating and codifying the law into 3-4 different verticals will go a long way on solving the legal labyrinth in the Sugarcane Sector which will benefit the farmers and all the related stakeholders.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.