After Pawar push, govt frees cotton export, allows fresh registration
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Commerce and textiles minister Anand Sharma, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and chairman of Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council C Rangarajan had met under the chairmanship of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to review the cotton export situation and "it was decided that suspension of new registrations for cotton exports be revoked and exports be permitted," an official statement said.
Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Sharma said there would not be any quantitative restrictions on registration for export but the informal group of ministers would make an assessment every third week. Following this, fresh registrations of certificates (RCs), which had been suspended on March 5, would be allowed by the Centre. Though the government lifted ban on exports on March 12 following stiff opposition from Pawar and cotton-growing states Gujarat and Maharashtra, fresh registrations were not allowed.
The agriculture minister had subsequently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raising objections to the export policies of the government towards items like cotton, sugar and milk. Sharma said MPs from Gujarat, Ahmed Patel, principal secretary to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, had met the Prime Minister, Mukherjee and him, seeking a removal of restrictions on export of cotton.
Earlier on April 18, the CAB revised production estimates upwards to 34.7 million bales from 34.5 million bales for the current season. It also revised domestic consumption estimates downwards to about 25 million bales from 26 million bales earlier. The agriculture ministry also revised upwards cotton output to 35.2 million bales from 34.08 million bales. Before the ban was imposed, the government had issued RCs for about 13 million bales.
* Decision comes against the backdrop of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar writing to the Prime Minister objecting to the government's export policies towards farm items like cotton, sugar and milk
* Commerce and textiles minister Anand Sharma said there would not be any quantitative restrictions on registration for export but an informal group of ministers would make an assessment every third week
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