Labourers push a handcart loaded with sacks of sugar at a wholesale market in Kolkata, India, April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s cabinet on Thursday approved a plan to spend up to 10.54 billion rupees ($148.81 million) to pay interest on loans to the sugar industry for a year, in a bid to help sugar mills clear their dues to farmers.

“Loans will be provided to those units which have already cleared at least 25 percent of their outstanding dues in the sugar season 2018-19,” the cabinet committee said in a statement.

A domestic supply glut has resulted in burgeoning payment dues by owners of sugar mills to farmers, leading to a free fall in domestic sugar prices.

The price fall exacerbated the poor financial health of mills which could not pay sugarcane growers, who form an influential voting bloc in Uttar Pradesh, India’s biggest state.

($1 = 70.8300 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; editing by David Evans


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