India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It covers an area of 3,287,263 sq. km, extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the 7th largest country and the biggest democracy in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity.

India is a remarkable tourist destination with plethora of experiences to offer traveller of all kinds- The country houses everything from the 7th wonder of the world Taj Mahal, to artistic palaces and forts of India that were crafted hundreds of years ago, and still stand upright to narrate the testimony of time of India’s rich culture and history. It also withholds vast tracts of forests that are home to exquisite wildlife and showcases bountiful nature at its best in its range of national parks and sanctuaries located across the length and breadth of the country.

The world's highest mountain range beautifully outlines this country with magical mountains that offer unique picturesque, natural beauty and grandeur and a nation full of tradition, customs and diverse faith that represent astounding religious practices and their association with people of different caste and creed in a defining feature and celebratory style. India as a destination is a delightful place to visit with lots of things to explore and catch up to and such variation in number of experiences is hard to find anywhere else. With a GDP of US$ 3.1 trillion, India is the world's sixth-largest economy and third largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). The country has one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world in the past decade. The Indian economy is likely to grow 8.5% in FY22.

* Source : Incredible India Website

When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established the Harappan culture in the Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization)

  • The name 'India' is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers. The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu.
  • Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies that originated in India. The 'Place Value System' and the 'Decimal System' were developed in India in 100 B.C.
  • India is the largest democracy in the world, the 7th largest country in the world, and one of the most ancient civilizations.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.
  • The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. They were built in 1503 and 1568 respectively.
  • Varanasi, also known as Benaras, was called "the Ancient City" when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.


India is a vast country with a total geographical area of 3,287,263 sq. km, and population of 1.37 billion people. It comprises of 28 states and 9 union territories. The country is located north of the equator and largely lies in the tropical belt and as such it is suitable for cultivation of a tropical crop like sugarcane. Sugarcane is grown abundantly in 19 states and two union territories.


India is considered origin of sugarcane. Sugarcane was an ancient delicacy and people originally chewed it raw to extract its sweetness, until the Indians discovered methods of turning juice into granulated crystals during the reign of the Guptas around 5th Century. Apart from mythological references, sugarcane and its products have been known in India for ages. The earliest record is found in a sacred book of the Hindus, the Atharva Veda which was composed during a period estimated by historians between 5000 to 1000 B.C. The first mention of sugar is found in the treatise called “Preeti Mokhsha” a code of conduct for Buddhists, which is believed to have originated around 6th centur y B.C. Sugar known as “SHARKARA” forms an important part of the 5 nectars (other being honey, milk, curd, and ghee) that are commonly used in Hindu rituals. During the medieval period, India had a thriving trade in sugar.


Despite the early years of discovery and knowledge, India lost her way in between and till 1930 had only 29 sugar mills [besides hundreds of jaggery plus khandsari (MUSCOVADO) units] with an average sugarcane crushing capacity of 300 TCD producing 100,000 tonnes of sugar per annum and had to meet its needs largely through imports. India moved away from its 300 TCD capacity mills to 600 TCD mills first and then gradually to 1000 TCD in 1960s before hitting the 2000 TCD mark in 1970 and 2500 TCD by the end of 1980s. The Indian engineers, technologists and scientists have now further developed and pushed the plant capacities upto 25000 TCD.
During the last two decades, various innovations and design developments by the Indian scientists, technologists and technology providers helped the country to supply indigenously designed and manufactured energy efficient plants of capacities ranging from 4000 to 25000 TCD, high-pressure cogeneration power plants, zero-water consumption in sugar plants, energy-efficient ethanol plants, compressed biogas plants with sugar plant waste firstly within India and later to several countries around the globe.

Emerging business opportunities like production of fuel ethanol and chemicals and structural reforms worldwide is providing new horizons for the sector. The Indian Sugar Sector has transformational opportunities that would enable it not only to continue service the domestic markets but also emerge as a significant carbon credit and power producer and support an highly ambitious ethanol bending programme of Government of India of E20 and beyond. The government has officially approved E100 by 2023 and has also asked the automobile manufacturers to gear up to produce flexi fuel vehicles.


The growth of the sugarcane agriculture in the country had also been spectacular. From 1.17 million hectares (Mha) in 1930-31, the cane area increased to 4.8 Mha by 2020-21, almost a fourfold increase. During this period the productivity also went up from 31 to 82.0 tonnes/hectare (t/ha). The sugar production increased from 0.12 to 31.10 million tonnes (Mt). Sugar recovery also showed an improvement from 8.96 to 10.36%. Details are given below. The number of operating sugar factories went up from 29 to 550 at present. The above achievements were possible because of the improved varieties, better agri-management practices, expansion and modernization of sugar mills etc.

The technological interventions and extensive mechanization usage by Farmers in Sugarcane Production in India have benefitted in several ways such as lowering the cost of production and evolving more efficient techniques without compromising sugar and cane yield. Also sugarcane being a high biomass crop with high water requirements, a growing trend of efficient water management and optimum usage of fertilizers has been observed amongst the farming community. Sugarcane scientists have been continuously striving for promotion of Sub Surface Drip Irrigation over surface irrigation for improving water efficiency and providing flexibility of fertilization which enables to specific nutritional requirements of the sugarcane crop to be met at different stages of its growth.

Also several initiatives have been taken by Government of India to double the farmers income and much focus now a days has now shifted from ‘Food Security’ to ‘Income Security’ of farmers. Major reforms have been done in this context have been initiated such as increase in cropping intensity, diversification towards high value crops, improvements in terms of trade for farmers or real price received by farmers etc.

*After diversion of Syrup/ B Heavy for Production of Ethanol

There are 550 operating sugar mills in India with the majority of them constrained in Northern India – Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab; Western India – Maharashtra, Gujarat; Southern India – Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Of these 391 units have attached distillery facility while 276 have attached high pressure cogeneration power plants. India produces around 300-350 Mt sugarcane, 30-35 Mt white sugar and 6-8 Mt jaggery/khandsari annually to meet the domestic demand for sweeteners. Moreover, the Indian Sugar Industry generates 5424 MW of power, about 4000 ML of alcohol and a host of downstream chemicals.

The industry exports about 2500 MW of power to grid after meeting its captive power requirement. Indian Sugar Industry is gradually transforming into sugar complexes by producing sugar, bio-electricity, bio-ethanol, bio-CNG, bio-manures and other chemicals, contributing about 1% to the national GDP.

Today the Indian sugar industry is second largest agro based industry in the country after cotton textiles and has a turnover of about US$ 15 billion (across white sugar, alcohol, power supply) per annum with a significant socio-economic impact. Sugarcane is one of the most important industrial crops in the country occupying about 5.0 million hectares (Mha) in area. The sugar industry contributes significantly to the rural economy as the sugar mills are located in the rural areas and provide large scale employment to rural population. About 0.5 million people in sugar mills and 50 million sugarcane farmers, their dependents and a large number of agricultural labour are involved in sugarcane cultivation, harvesting, processing and ancillary activities, constituting 7.5% of the population.


The roadmap for ethanol blending in India 2020-25 was released by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 5 June, 2021 i.e. on World Environment day. The Government of India has also advanced the target for 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030.

Many steps are being taken by the Govt to address demand and supply side issues in the coming years, and the ethanol distillation capacities in the country are likely to be doubled and India should be able to achieve a 20% blending target by 2025. The current ethanol supply for the year 2021-22 is likely to be more than 4000 ML allowing the industry to achieve 10% blending levels.

Distillation has seen a significant technological upgradation over the years in fermentation and distillation technologies. This has helped not only to enhance the yield of alcohol per unit of molasses but has also reduced spent wash generation and the requirement of utilities i.e. steam and power. Treatment of spent wash and other effluents from the molasses-based distilleries has assumed greater significance given the necessity of “Zero Liquid Discharge”.


India is a hub for design and manufacture of sugar plants and machinery. The country has several well-established turn-key solution providers capable of taking complete sugar projects from concept to commissioning and over 1000 small and medium enterprises.

India is also in the forefront of nurturing world-class technocrats, who not only manage and maintain the domestic sugar industry but also provide specialized technical and managerial services across the globe. About 10,000 Indians are currently working wonders in various capacities in as many as 40 sugar-producing countries.