No nod for Rs 500 crore rubber fund yet: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Thiruvananthapuram | Published: February 3, 2016 12:49:11 AM

More discussion will be necessary before deciding to allow the Rs 500-crore price stabilisation fund for rubber, according to Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It was proposed that a central provision of Rs 500 crore would prop up the falling natural rubber (NR) price to Rs 200 per kilo.

More discussion will be necessary before deciding to allow the Rs 500-crore price stabilisation fund for rubber, according to Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It was proposed that a central provision of Rs 500 crore would prop up the falling natural rubber (NR) price to Rs 200 per kilo.

“I have not made any commitment on rubber funds to Jose K Mani, MP from Kottayam. My efforts are, however, to support the cause of farmers, who are facing the price fall,” she told mediapersons in New Delhi. When the MP went on an indefinite fast to call attention to the poor price realisation of rubber, the minister had called him to New Delhi for a discussion.

The MP had told reporters in Kerala that the Union commerce minister had assured that she will give recommendation to the Union finance ministry to provide the R500-crore rubber price stabilisation kitty.

“Instead of giving assurances, I was only giving ear to his proposals like postponing the ban on NR imports to one year. Currently, the ban on imports of NR is on till March 31,” she clarified. This was an issue, that could not be decided on without further parleys, she said.

Meanwhile, UPASI (United Planters Association of South India) is pretty worried about the number of farmers quitting rubber cultivation.“Production during April-December 2015 was as low as 4.28 lakh tonne as compared to 5.10 lakh tonne during the corresponding period a year earlier. What is apprehensive is that the imports touched a figure of 3.27 lakh tonne during April-December 2015, accounting for 76 % of the production and 44% of consumption of natural rubber,” says N Dharmarajan, president, UPASI.

In 2010-11, the revenue ploughed up from rubber was Rs 14,643 crore. But due to continuous fall in prices, latex could fetch only Rs 6,731 crore in 2014-15 in Kerala. It would be tough to say how long the rubber cultivation can survive without quick policy intervention,

Siby Monipally, general-secretary, IRGA (Indian
Rubber Growers’ Association ) told FE.

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