New Delhi, April 30: The government today eased a two-month-old restriction to allow the export of fresh cotton. The move follows the demand of a fresh review by Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party in the interest of farmers protesting the ban.
"After a comprehensive review (by a ministerial panel) it was decided that the suspension of new registrations for cotton exports be revoked and exports be permitted," a government statement said.
A group of ministers, led by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, reviewed the export situation and took into account estimates of output. Chief ministers, including Gujarat's Narendra Modi, had also written to the Centre seeking a review of the policy, which had depressed prices.
The output in the marketing year ending September is expected to reach a record 34.7 million bales (of 170 kg each) from an earlier estimate of 34.5 million bales, while domestic consumption is expected to decline around 6 per cent to 25.2 million, according to the Cotton Advisory Board.
"A decision has been taken to remove the suspension of cotton exports registration. Registration of cotton exports will be allowed by the government," commerce and textiles minister Anand Sharma said after meeting agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
In March, the trade ministry had banned exports to ensure domestic supply, which led to a rise in global prices.
An intervention by the farm ministry on behalf of the farmers resulted in the ban getting dismantled in stages.
The trade ministry initiated the ban because of the pressure from domestic textile and apparel producers, who wanted to ensure an adequate supply of the raw material.