Claiming to safeguard the interests of the cotton farmers, the Centre on Wednesday gave approval for committed price support of about Rs 17,000 crore to the Cotton Commission of India (CCI) for the cotton seasons from 2014-15 to 2020-21 till up to September 30 this year.
Cotton is one of the most important cash crops and plays a major role in sustaining the livelihood of around 58 lakh cotton farmers and 400 to 500 lakh people engaged in related activities such as cotton processing and trade.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for committed price support of Rs 17,408.85 crore to the CCI for the cotton seasons from 2014-15 to 2020-21 (up to September 30), a Cabinet release said.
“In order to safeguard the interests of the cotton farmers, it is expedient to conduct price support operations in cotton years 2014-15 to 2020-21 as cotton prices touch the MSP prices. Its implementation enhances the inclusiveness of the cotton farmers in the economic activity of the country. Price support operations help stabilize the cotton prices and alleviate farmer’s distress,” the release said.
During cotton season 2020-21, the area under cotton cultivation was 133 lakh hectares with estimated production of 360 lakh bales, which account for around 25 per cent of the total global cotton production. The Government of India, based on the recommendations of CACP, fixes MSP for seed cotton (kapas).
The government appoints the CCI as the central nodal agency and the CCI is mandated to undertake MSP in cotton as and when cotton prices fall below the MSP level. The MSP operations protect cotton farmers from distress sale during any adverse price situation.
The MSP operations being a sovereign function in nature, motivates cotton farmers in the country to keep their sustained interest in cotton cultivation so as to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ in quality cotton, which is a raw material for the spinning industry. The CCI keeps its infrastructure ready in all 11 major cotton growing states by opening 474 procurement centres in 143 districts.
During the global pandemic in the last two cotton seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21), the CCI procured around 1/3rd of the cotton production in the country i.e. about 200 lakh bales and disbursed more than Rs 55,000 crore directly in the bank accounts of around 40 lakh farmers.
For the current cotton season i.e. 2021-22, the CCI has already made arrangements in all 11 major cotton growing states, including deployment of manpower at more than 450 procurement centres, to meet any eventuality of MSP operations.