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Cotton exports to resume as govt revises production estimates

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said there would not be any quantitative restrictions on registration for exports, but the group of ministers would review the situation in two-three weeks.

BT Online Bureau | April 30, 2012 | Updated 16:37 IST

Cotton exports will resume as the government's production estimates have been revised upwards. The industry's 2011-12 marketing year will end in September.

"A decision has been taken to remove suspension of cotton exports registration. Registration of cotton exports will be allowed by the government," Commerce and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma told reporters after meeting Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

Sharma said there would not be any quantitative restrictions on registration for exports, but the group of ministers (GoM) would review the situation in two-three weeks.

Last month, the government had lifted the ban on exports but decided not to issue fresh registration of certificates (RCs). It only allowed shipments for which RCs were already issued before the ban was imposed on March 5.

Congress MPs from Gujarat - led by Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and state Pradesh Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia - recently met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Sharma and sought the removal of restrictions on cotton exports.

Monday's decision also comes against the backdrop of Pawar writing to the prime minister objecting to the government's export policies towards certain farm items like cotton, sugar and milk.

"We have accepted agriculture ministry's data on cotton production. Based on revised estimates of the Cotton Advisory Board as well as the agriculture ministry, we have decided to remove suspension on registration of cotton exports," he added.

Earlier this month, the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) had revised production estimates upwards to 347 lakh bales from 345 lakh bales for the current season. It has also revised domestic consumption estimates downwards to about 250 lakh bales from 260 lakh bales earlier. The Agriculture Ministry, too, has revised upwards cotton output to 352 lakh bales from 340.8 lakh bales.

Before the ban was imposed, the government had issued RCs for about 130 lakh bales.

With PTI inputs

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