New Delhi: India decided to allow fresh cotton exports after a Group of Ministers meeting convened by the Prime Minister discussed the issue on Monday. Post meeting, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said that India will allow "fresh cotton export registration". The GoM will now review the situation based on revised estimates and figures of crop size.
The Opposition raised the issue in Parliament on Monday with JDU leader and NDA convener Sharad Yadav demanding that the government open a war room to deal with the crisis faced by cotton farmers and Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj staging a walkout over the matter.
Sharad Yadav argued in the House that although there had been record production of cotton over the past one year, there was no proper storage space and the procurement process was poor.
"There has been a record production but there is no proper storage space and poor procurement process. The grains are rotting and farmers are suffering. The government is not taking any steps to sort this issue. What is the government doing on this? There is no coordination between the states and the Centre on the issue," said Yadav.
"The farmers are suffering and the government is not taking any steps. The farmers are not afraid of dying. They are committing suicide," he added.
Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj, meanwhile, walked out of the Lok Sabha in protest against the government's policies on foodgrain.
"The farmers across the country are suffering and the issue is being raised in the House. The government is so insensitive that the leader of the House instead of replying to the Opposition on what the government is planning to do, moves out of the House. Then there is no point raising the matters in House and we too should move out of the House," said Sushma.
Of about 115 lakh bales registered so far this season, the country has exported 106 lakh bales of cotton. Cotton export has become a political issue as restriction on it is being opposed by several chief ministers and MPs from the Opposition as well as the Congress Party, who say that the move is anti-farmers.
(With additional information from PTI)