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No rift in govt on cotton, sugar exports: Pawar

New Delhi: Days after complaining to the Prime Minister that food and textile ministries are following anti-farmer export policies, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said there are no differences within the government on the issue.

"There is nothing like that. The decision to export more sugar has been taken. All these issues (export of agricultural commodities) are decided together. …There are no differences nor there is any intention to corner anyone," Pawar told reporters when asked whether his views on export policy are not taken seriously.

Pawar had recently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complaining that the food and textile ministries were following anti-farmer policies particularly in regard to export of cotton and sugar.

The issues raised by him will be discussed at the meeting convened by the Prime Minister next week. Describing the policies as "retrograde", Pawar had said that compromising the interest of small farmers to "benefit the textile magnates is indeed a travesty of justice". His complaint related to restrictions on cotton exports.

Pawar said although there is a scope and need for more cotton exports, "We should not overlook the fact that last year, the highest export was 51 lakh bales. This year, more than 110 lakh bales of cotton is being exported".

In the 2011-12 marketing year (October-September), the government has permitted cotton export of around 130 lakh bales but stopped further shipments to ensure domestic supply. Pawar said that there is a need for additional quota of cotton exports as domestic output has improved to a record 35.2 million bales this year.

Stating that there is no problem about rice and wheat exports, Pawar said, "The question comes about cotton and sugar exports. We are discussing this subject on April 30 and will take some view."

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