Cotton prices, stability comfortable: Sharma

Cotton prices, stability comfortable: Sharma New Delhi: Domestic price and availability of cotton is "comfortable" and the government will intervene in the market if rates fall below the support price, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Tuesday.

"We are very comfortable...If the prices of cotton falls below the minimum support price (MSP), then the government intervenes and buys from the farmers. Now there are no arrivals. Let's wait for the next crop in October," he told reporters here at a textile function.

Sharma, who also holds the textiles portfolio, was replying to a query as to whether the government is considering restrictions on cotton exports.

The Cotton Association of India (CAI) on has recently said that it has placed the cotton crop for the season 2012-13 at 351 lakh bales as against 373.25 lakh bales in 2011-12.

The cotton arrivals as on March 31 are placed at 294.25 lakh bales. The exports of cotton have virtually come to a standstill in 2012-13 as compared to 127 lakh bales exported in 2011-12, it has said.

Meanwhile, Sharma launched 21 new textile parks approved under Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) today.

These new parks take the total number to 61 parks as 40 parks were sanctioned earlier.

Under the scheme, 61 parks have been sanctioned - 40 projects were started in the 11th Five Year Plan and another 21 projects are to be implemented in the 12th Five Year Plan.

"Out of the 40 parks sanctioned earlier, a total of 25 Parks are already operational. Most of the balance Parks are expected to be completed during this financial year," the minister said.

He said the estimated employment generation is over 10 lakh, with total estimated investment of Rs 27,562 crore.

Of 21 parks, six are in Maharashtra, four in Rajasthan, two each in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and one each in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tripura, Karnataka, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

In this year's Union Budget speech, the Finance Minister has announced an additional amount of up to Rs 10 crore per park for setting up apparel manufacturing units for the projects under the SITP.

"Necessary action is being taken for implementing the announcement," he added.

Further, on IKEA, he said that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs would soon take the proposal.

"It is a procedural requirement. The proposals stands approved (by the FIPB). Once it will come before CCEA, it will have a final approval. It is just a matter of days," he added.

Swedish furniture major IKEA proposes to invest Rs 10,500 crore to set up 25 single brand retail stores in the country.

PTI