Cotton to be ‘baled’ out soon
Govt likely to allow export of two million bales of the natural fibre
TALKS OF government allowing export of two million bales of fresh cotton have gained momentum as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs a meet on the issue of ban on cotton exports today.
Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said that the government will consider resuming the exports of the cotton. Issues related to availability of cotton will also be discussed with the farm and finance ministers based on revised production and consumption data furnished by the Cotton Advisery Board (CAB).
Industry sources informed that both the agriculture ministry and the CAB have revised upwards the cotton production estimates for cotton in the year ending September 30 to about 35.2 million bales (170 kg each).
However, the CAB had earlier estimated cotton production for the year at 34 million bales.
“Announcement for any kind of cotton exports by government would be a welcome step. But, we feel that earmarking cotton exports to just two million bales would not solve the purpose. We want free export of cotton. Let the market forces or demand decide how much exports is required in a cotton year,” said Dhiren Seth, president, Cotton Association of India (CAI).
CAI has been lobbying hard seeking allowance of cotton export under the Open General Licence (OGL).
DGFT had banned cotton exports, citing shortfall in domestic supply
Earlier on 5 March, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had banned cotton exports apprehending a shortfall in domestic cotton supplies. But within four days it was forced to partially lift the ban after protests from growers, traders and China, the biggest buyer.
While bringing down availability for domestic consumption for the entire season to 23.3 million bales against 26.8 million bales consumed last year, India exported 9.4 million bales of cotton in the first five months of the cotton year which extends from October to September.
Both, the Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Commerce have been pushing for the ban on cotton exports.
Amid pressure from Sharad Pawar’s NCP and Congress representatives from Gujarat, Manmohan Singh will chair the meet to take a call on allowing shipment of the natural fibre instead of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
In his letter to the prime minister, Pawar had said that “Indian cotton farmers should not be asked to bear the burden of subsidising the textile mills.”