Agriculture Industry

Govt focus on ethanol, sugar sector approvals

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12 June 2023, New Delhi: The food and public distribution department is planning to bring all approvals and clearances for putting up sugar and ethanol projects under the national single window system (NSWS) developed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

NSWS is a one-stop digital platform for investors for approvals and clearances and hosts approvals across 32 central departments and 32 states and Union territories. Apart from facilitating projects to get all requisite clearance at one place, the platform is also expected to curb market manipulation in the highly regulated sugar and ethanol sectors. Earlier, the manual data entry by the concerned department of food and public distribution put sensitive information at risk of being leaked. Some non-governmental agencies or organizations made information like monthly sugar sales quota for mills public before the government did. The department of food and public distribution (DFPD) allocates sugar sales quota to mills each month, a government official said. “To prevent this, the sugar division is trying to migrate its digital operations to NSWS portal.” Queries sent to the DFPD and DPIIT on Wednesday remained unanswered at press time.

“The priority of the department of food and public distribution’s sugar division is the management information system (MIS) of sugar and ethanol.”

In the beginning of the ongoing calendar year, NSWS on boarded various government schemes across different ministries, including the food and public distribution’s Sugar and Ethanol Policy. As on 5 January, more than 2,000 investors applied for various registrations under the Sugar and Ethanol scheme. The sugar division first utilised the NSWS in March last year to receive applications for ethanol-based business projects, and now it is gradually bringing sugar-related operations to the portal. The department has started taking data related to sugar and ethanol from May onwards.

The department is incorporating facilities not only for cane commissioners but also for sugar mills. The official said, a dashboard with log in credentials facility will be created for each registered and operational sugar mill with the incorporation of API-based models into the NSWS portal.

If the execution goes as per the plan in the next one year, each mill will get to see its monthly sugar sales quota allocation on the screen of the mill’s NSWS dashboard, and henceforth, mills will not require to check the DFPD’s website to know the same. However, they may check the DFPD’s website to know other mills’ monthly allocation as a mill will have limited and restricted access to the portal, the official informed.

The manipulation risk due to manual data entry is expected to be reduced substantially as DPIIT monitors the new system and all the approvals take place through its NSWS portal. Nobody from the department will have editing access, and everything related to the sugar and ethanol scheme will directly come from the DPIIT to the department head concerned.

NSWS provides a single interface to apply for all G2B clearances across various ministries and departments. The portal also eliminates duplication of work by auto-populating form fields across different approvals based on a single investor profile. The Know Your Approvals (KYA) module includes guidance for 32 Central departments and 32 States. NSWS, developed by a government agency Invest India, was soft launched as per the budget announcement of creation of an Investment Clearance Cell (ICC) for stakeholders and the public in September 2021 by Union minister Piyush Goyal.

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