Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Textiles, Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Affairs, announced the formation of an informal committee chaired by Suresh Bhai Kotak, a renowned veteran cotton man. The proposed council’s first meeting is scheduled for May 28, 2022. The council will deliberate, discuss, and prepare a strong action plan to bring about tangible improvements in this field.

The announcement came during a meeting with cotton value chain stakeholders presided over by Goyal, who was also joined by Minister of State for Textiles Darshna Jardosh, Secretary Textiles, and Secretary Agriculture.

During the meeting, a variety of perspectives and suggestions were discussed in order to address the unprecedented price rise seen this season by softening cotton and yarn prices as soon as possible. Cotton productivity has been identified as the country’s biggest challenge, resulting in lower cotton production despite the country’s largest cotton cultivation area. The minister emphasised the importance of making better-quality seeds available to cotton farmers in order to increase productivity.

In his address to the meeting, Goyal sent a clear and loud message to all stakeholders to resolve the cotton and yarn price issue in the spirit of collaboration rather than competition and super profiteering, without pressuring the government to intervene, as this could have long-term consequences for the cotton value chain.

He also emphasised the need of holding the 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-the-box thinking at this critical juncture.  

Pointing out that the government is committed to protecting 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 are issued up to 30th September 2022 to overcome the current cotton shortage and logistic issues.

The minister also appealed to the spinning and trading community to ensure a 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.