The Union Ministry of Textiles has recently issued a draft notification so as to establish quality standards for cotton bales as per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms. According to Industry experts, this would help Indian cotton to get better prices in future which will in turn benefit the farmers.
As per the notification, cotton bales shall comply with IS 12171:2013 and shall bear the Standard Mark under a license from BIS as per Scheme-II of schedule-II of BIS Conformity Assessment Regulations, 2018.
The BIS will be certifying and enforcing authority that will include officer not below the rank of General Manager, District Industries Centre in the Department of Industries of the State Government. Also, in addition to this, any person who breaches these provisions shall be punishable under the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016.
This order is not applicable on the cotton bales meant for exports, hence the manufacturers shall conform to the specifications required by the foreign buyers.
In today’s time, Indian cotton is traded at a discount of 10-15 per cent at international prices mainly because of the quality concerns in ginning, processing and labelling stages. About 18 types of trash contamination can be seen in Indian cotton which in turn impacts the spinning mills. If all the problems related to contamination are sorted out during ginning process then spinning mills may be willing to pay better price. Moreover, the total domestic consumption of cotton for the period 2017-18 was 31.55 million bales.
These provisions are in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to double the farm income in India.
Atul Ganatra, President, Cotton Association of India, said, “Once everybody adheres to the new quality standards, Indian cotton may command higher price globally. It may not be at par with international prices in the short term but the farmers may benefit from this.” Atul also hopes that customers would not mind paying extra price for good quality cotton if they start adhering to these guidelines.
The government has also fixed the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of cotton for 2018-19 season at Rs. 5,150 per quintal for medium staple and Rs. 5,450 per quintal for long staple in order to provide economical prices to growers.