Modi urges PM to probe intent behind ban on raw cotton export

Modi urges PM to probe intent behind ban on raw cotton export
Gandhinagar, DeshGujarat, 24 May, 2010

Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi in a letter today urged Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to probe as to who in the Union Ministry is responsible for the anti-farmer policy of banning export of raw cotton.

Shri Modi requested Dr Singh to personally investigate as to what was the urgency or intent of extending benefits to vested interest of a handful of cotton yarn manufacturers. Who has committed the blunder must come out.

Earlier on April 9, 2010, when the Union Ministry of Finance increased export duty on raw cotton by Rs.2,500 per tonne, Shri Modi recalled, he had brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that the farmers of Gujarat alone would have to incur a huge loss of Rs.2,000-crore in a single month due to that decision. Gujarat’s cotton growers alone contribute to 50 per cent of nation’s exports.

It was perhaps the first instance of the Union Finance Ministry imposing export duty on a farm produce, to the extent that the Commerce Ministry is reportedly trying to cancel shipment of cotton containers. The decision to impose a licence system for cotton exports would be further detrimental for export, passing on the losses to cotton farmers.

The Centre did not even consult the governments of cotton growing states, reflecting an utter lack of co-ordination among the Textiles, Commerce, Agriculture and Finance Ministries. It smacks of depriving only the Gujarat farmers the benefits of rising cotton prices in the international market.

It is to everybody’s knowledge that Gujarat is the largest producer of raw cotton in the country. It is a major cash crop of the state, with maximum area under its cultivation as well as in best productivity in terms of yields per hectare. Gujarat cotton growers have set a record of sorts in cotton, despite the outgoing season being difficult one due to less rain and high input costs in sharp contrast to instances of cotton farmers committing suicide in other states.

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