Indian cotton exports ban gets reversed
NEW DELHI - Agence France-PresseIndia yesterday reversed its ban on cotton exports in a swift U-turn just six days after the policy announcement was greeted with outrage from farmers.
The government of India, the world’s second-largest producer of cotton, unexpectedly banned all exports of the crop on March 5, saying it wanted to protect supplies for domestic mills.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ordered a rapid review of the decision after fury from farming groups and complaints by the agriculture minister, who said he knew nothing about the ban before it was unveiled.
“Keeping in view the facts, the interests of the farmers, interest of the industry, trade, a balanced view has been considered by the Group of Ministers to roll back the ban,” Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said yesterday.
Sharma added in a statement that the formal order to lift the ban would be issued today.
The reversal comes after a series of policy setbacks for the government, including the withdrawal in December of major reforms to the retail sector in a move that was widely seen as a public embarrassment for premier Singh.