New Delhi, Apr 29 - Amid the ongoing controversy over export of cotton, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting tomorrow to take a call on allowing shipment of natural fibre as has been advocated by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Ahead of the meeting with the Prime Minister, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will hold discussions with Pawar and Commerce and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma.
There are indications that the government may allow export of additional 20 lakh bales of cotton (one bale is 170 kg) during the current crop season (October-September 2011-12). Of about 115 lakh bales registered so far this season, the country has exported 106 lakh bales of cotton.
In view of the controversy, Sharma met Mukherjee twice in the last two days in this regard.
While the Textiles Ministry has been insisting on adequate availability of cotton for the domestic industry, Pawar and Modi want natural fibre shipments under the Open General Licence (OGL) to ensure adequate prices for growers.
On March 12, the government had partially lifted ban on cotton exports, which lasted only for a week. following pressures from Modi and Pawar. But it had allowed the exports only after scrutinising and revalidating the exports registrations which were made before the ban was imposed.
The three ministers on Monday will meet and take a final call on this subject.
Later in the day, the Prime Minister will chair a meeting on agricultural products in which the issue of cotton exports would be discussed, Sharma told reporters here today. PTI