AS part of a national endeavour to strengthen the cotton sector so that textile mills are able to effectively face global competition and benefit from the new world trade regime, the Technology Mission on Cotton (TMC) launched in 2000 has so far helped modernise about 300 ginning factories capable of processing over 60 lakh bales of cotton.
Equipping ginneries with modern machines and adequate civil infrastructure that will avert contamination and bring down trash content in baled cotton is the main objective of Mini Mission IV of TMC implemented by the Ministry of Textiles through the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).
As many as 1,000 ginning and pressing factories (from out of the nearly 4,000 in the country) are likely to be modernised during the eight-year period ending 2006-07.
As a result of this, over 80 per cent of Indian cotton could be processed into bales of international quality standards.
Capturing the performance so far and suggesting an action plan for the future, CCI has recently published a book entitled `Modernisation of Ginneries under TMC - Dimensions and Impact,' which discusses the methodology evolved by TMC to assess the quality of modernised ginneries.
The book covers the different aspects of modernisation such as the scope and dimensions, benefits derived from the Government scheme, impediments in its implementation and the future perspective. It also profiles 250 ginneries that were modernised through TMC till March this year.
Given that over 500 ginneries have so far been approved for modernisation, TMC seems to be all set to revolutionise cotton ginning in India, according to Mr Vishwa Nath, Advisor (CCI-TMC) and immediate past chairman and managing director of CCI.
Looking ahead, CCI believes the key to successful modernisation would be for ginners themselves to undertake contract farming of cotton to address the issue of varietal impurity and mixing.
The book, which serves as a report card of TMC's performance so far, should help shake up another technology mission the Technology Mission on Oilseeds (TMO) that was set up way back in 1986.
TMC has shown tremendous commitment to upgrading the entire cotton value chain and the success of its efforts is seen in rising output and opening up of export opportunities.
TMO, on the other hand, appears to have completely given up on oilseeds development. The country's reliance on imports has widened to an alarming 50 per cent in recent years. Thus, TMO has lessons to learn from TMC.