By admin       2018-03-20

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Food Security and the Ministry of Textile Industry are locked in a tug of war over the process of handing over administrative control of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) as the latter has issued a notification without authority for transferring the committee to the former. Only the cabinet is empowered to issue a notification in this regard and the Textile Division has no such authority as amendments have not yet been made to the Rules of Business. The cabinet, in its meeting held on March 6, had approved the transfer of PCCC’s control to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research from the Textile Division with the directive that the Rules of Business 1973 would be amended accordingly. However, after the cabinet’s decision, the Textile Division issued a notification on March 16, saying administrative control of the PCCC and cotton commissioner was being transferred from the Ministry of Commerce and Textile (Textile Division) to the Ministry of National Food Security with immediate effect. It said the cotton commissioner, who was working under the Textile Division, would also report to the food security ministry with immediate effect. A senior government official said the food security ministry had refused to accept the notification, saying the Textile Division did not have such powers and amendments to the Rules of Business had not yet been made. According to the official, the Textile Division has violated the cabinet’s decision that clearly said the Rules of Business would be amended for handing over administrative control of the PCCC to the food security ministry. Earlier, the food security division had been fighting to get control of the cotton committee and commissioner as it believed that the two were not independent in taking vital decisions because textile lobby was exerting its influence on them. In order to examine the proposal, the cabinet constituted a committee, headed by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz. The committee was also tasked with analysing the reasons behind virtual stagnation in cotton production over the past two decades and coming up with institutional measures that would lead to a steady growth in cotton yield and production. The committee held a series of consultative meetings with both divisions, Sindh and Punjab provinces as well as academia and industry associations. It recommended handing over PCCC’s administrative control to the food security division in order to strengthen public-private partnership in cotton research through increased funding from the public sector and more pro-cotton policies in the overall policy framework. The cabinet approved transfer of the PCCC to the food security ministry.

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