Imports, no bother

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Can we ever do without imports?

A few lakh bales of imports, even if they continue for a long time, should not be a major concern because the percentage of imports to total demand of raw cotton has been consistently low at around 2 per cent only.

Will the import duty structure go down or up in the future?

Although the duty has increased from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, the possibility of a further increase is negligible because the duty cap has been reduced from 15 per cent to 12.5 per cent in this budget.

Is cotton losing out to synthetics? What does industry prefer?

In the Indian textile industry, cotton is still the predominant fibre around 75 per cent. Internationally, cotton constitutes 38 per cent of total fibre consumption. The share of cotton in our total fibre consumption had been declining for several years but cotton has seen significant recovery last year.

How well linked are cotton growers and industry?

The link between the two has been steadily improving, though industry's requirements for longer staple cotton has not been met sufficiently so far. With increasing consciousness of the advantages of an industry-farmer partnership, contract farming and other arrangements are being developed.

If India's textile exports are increasing why are farmers dying?

The problems of the farmers are not caused by the textile industry. Farmers in many parts of India do not have access to quality seeds, technical know-how for growing better varieties, or access to cheap credit. It is a question of institutional failure rather than market failure.

How can industry protect farmers and promote exports?

Awareness programmes on latest techniques and varieties should reach farmers. This is especially true for Bt cotton, which has benefited cotton farmers worldwide.