Union Minister of Textiles PiyushGoyal has announced formation of a cotton council with representation from government departments and private players to prepare a robust action plan for improving the fibre’s productivity and cool down record high cotton prices. Despite the Centre notifying withdrawal of import duty levied on cotton, prices of cotton and yarn continue to rise, hitting textile manufacturers across the country. Wholesale price index-based inflation for textiles, which remained in double digits for many months, surged to 12.98% in April. The textile sector contributes 10% of the manufacturing production, 2% of India’s GDP and 15% of the country’s export earnings.

“PiyushGoyal, Union Minister of Textiles, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has announced formation of Cotton Council of India, under Chairmanship of Suresh BhaiKotak, a renowned veteran cotton man, with representation from Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, Commerce and Industry, Cotton Corporation of India and Cotton Research Institute,” the Ministry of Textiles said in a release on Tuesday.

The first meeting of the proposed council, under the chairmanship of Suresh BhaiKotak, a renowned veteran cotton man, will be held on May 28, 2022. The council will discuss, deliberate and prepare a robust action plan for bringing out a tangible improvement in this field.

The union minister made the announcement during a meeting with stakeholders from the cotton value chain. He emphasised upon the need for making available better quality of seeds to improve productivity of cotton farmers and urged all stakeholders to resolve cotton and yarn price issues.

In the meeting, a cross-section of views and suggestions were deliberated for softening cotton and yard prices on urgent basis, to address unprecedented price rise witnessed in the current season. It was pointed out that cotton productivity is the biggest challenge in the country, resulting in less cotton production despite the largest area under cotton cultivation, as per the release. Addressing the meeting, Goyal urged all stakeholders to resolve the cotton and yarn price issue, in the spirit of collaboration rather than competition and super profiteering, without pushing the government to intervene as it may have a long term impact on the cotton value chain.

He also emphasised the need of holding hands of cotton farmers who are the weakest part of the cotton value chain, besides extending all possible support to stakeholders engaged in the backward and forward integration through out of box thinking at this critical juncture.

Pointing out that government is committed to protect the interests of cotton farmers, spinners and weavers, the minister assured to actively consider the demand of the spinning sector for exemption from import duty on those import contracts in which bills of lading is issued upto 30th September 2022 to overcome current cotton shortage and logistic issues.

Goyal also appealed to the spinning and trading community to ensure hassle free supply of cotton and yarn first to the domestic industry and only surplus cotton and yarn should be diverted for exports. He cautioned that export should not be at the cost of domestic industry which is the largest generator of employment in the country.