India was the fourth major sugar producing country in the world, the first three being Russia, Brazil and Cuba in the order. India has now emerged as the largest sugar producing country in the world, with a 22 per cent share of the world’s sugar production. Sugar industry is the second largest agro-based industry in the country. It ranks third largest industry in terms of its contribution to the net value added by manufacture and employs nearly 3.25 lakh workers, besides creating extensive indirect employment for 45 million farmers of sugarcane, the various agencies of distributive trade and through subsidiary industries such as confectionary. Sugarcane cultivation accounts for 3 per cent of total cultivated area and contributes 7.5 per cent of the gross value of agricultural production. It is also an important source of excise duty for the Central Government. There are now 571 sugar factories in India with a total installed capacity of 19.2 million tonnes. Against this, 500 factories were in operation.