Sunday, 6 May 2012

Govt flip-flop kills hopes of cotton farmers-DNA


Govt flip-flop kills hopes of cotton farmers

Published: Monday, May 7, 2012, 8:30 IST
By Yogesh Pawar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Hopes of farmers in the cotton belts of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have been dashed within days of the central government allowing fresh cotton exports. Union commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said in New Delhi on May 1 that there would be no quantitative restrictions on registration for exports.
Less than a week later, a notification from the director general of foreign trade (DGFT) [No 113 (RE-2010)/2009-14 on May 4, 2012] imposed fresh quota for
re-validation.
In replay of a similar flip-flop which DNA had reported on March 13, the DGFT through its conditions has ensured that though the export ban is lifted in principle, it stays in practice.
“An exporter can apply for one RC (registration certificate) at a time for a maximum quantity of 10,000 bales (1 bale=170kg) or actual quantity exported in the current cotton season, whichever is less. Exporters who have exported up to 1500 bales during the current season and newcomers (one who has not exported cotton in the current season) can apply for up to 1500 bales. Eligibility to apply for a subsequent RC will be on completion of at least 50% of the exports against the RC obtained now under this notification (exporters would be required to submit documentary proof of such exports to the concerned RAs along with the application for issue of new RC),” says a condition imposed by DGFT.
Another one says, “RC holders will have to apply in next higher multiples of 10. (For eg, an exporter who has exported 1387 bales in the current season is expected to apply for 1390 bales).”
The notification also reiterates that revalidation of RCs will not be permitted as mentioned in keeping with the DGFT decision in March.
Farmer lobbies have decried what they call “mockery” of farmers already suffering due to a cycle of crop failures and rising debt. “One one hand, the government keeps making sympathetic sounds on farmer suicides, but each of its decision seems designed to push more and more farmers into the jaws of death,” lamented farm rights activist Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti.
Barely three days ago, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar announced that there has been a bumper record cotton crop of 35 million bales which is far in excess of the domestic requirement of 20 million bales. After his meeting with Anand Sharma, the latter announced the lifting of all cotton export restrictions,
Alleging that the textile lobby was behind these anti-farmer moves, Tiwari has demanded a CBI enquiry into what led to the decision. “If the UPA government has a problem with growth of cotton exports and wants to protect the textile cartel,it should buy cotton at international rates through its agencies like NAFED and CCI,” Tiwari told DNA, adding, “Since word of the new notification came out, cotton bales which were selling at Rs36,000 are now selling at Rs33,400.”

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