ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India-Bangladesh Relations-Sign ficant Silences

will only mean getting back to some sort of a controlled cloth scheme, which the government had in its wisdom decided to abandon less than a year ago and which, in any case, cannot succeed without an effective distribution system, of which there are still no signs. In this context, it is also curious that the Minister of Industry, apart from making cursory references, has not shown any special anxiety over the rise in prices of cotton yarn. Given the fall in cotton prices, the rise in yarn prices is very much more indefensible than that in cloth prices, since the cost of cotton, which is believed to constitute 40 per cent of the cost of cloth, forms a very much larger proportion of the cost of yarn. More important, the price of cotton yarn largely determines the cost of cloth produced by the handloom and powerloom sectors of the textile industry. Accord ing to last year's so-called integrated textile policy, the handloom sector is supposed to produce the bulk of cheap cloth required by the poor. And yet the Minister of Industry does not seem to be particularly bothered a bout the steep rise in yarn prices- All these contradictions and confusions in the government's current concern about cloth prices arise because of the absence of a coherent policy. Cloth is a basic necessity of life and the central objective of the government's policy in regard to the textile industry ought to be to ensure that more and more cloth of the type demanded by the poorer sections of the population is produced at prices which they can afford to pay. In fact, however, the product pattern of the textile industry has, been changing rapidly in favour of sophisticated, highpriced cloth varieties. Of late, this trend has been actively encouraged by the government's modernisation programme financed by soft loans at subsidised rates of interest from the public financial institutions. In this respect the motivations and performance of the public sector mills of the NTC have been no different. Even the better organised section of the handloom sector

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