Cotton is one of the principal commercial crops in India, with 9.0 million ha area (largest in the world). We are the third largest producer of cotton in the world that the yield in only 300 kg /ha, although within the limits of our agro-climatic situations, as against the world average of 558 kg/ha. Cotton plays an important role in the national economy providing large employment in the farm marketing and processing sectors.Cotton and cotton-based textile accounted for about 70% of the total export. However, India's share of textile exports in the global textile market is only 3.1%. To enhance country's share of global exports in the WTO regime of liberalized trade, we will have to take the challenge of competition in price and quality. Abundant supply of raw material of quality at a reasonable price, therefore, shall be crucial. Although, there has been a significant growth in production, productivity and quality of Indian cotton during the last 50 years, it is way below the average world productivity and far below the general quality requirements.

In our country, a review of the existing cultivation practices of cotton show that this crop exercises significant impact in the input use pattern of Indian Agriculture, utilizing 15% water resources, 27% fertiliser resources and over 55% insecticide formulations. This warrants our attention to study the influence of such input servicing in Indian Agriculture ecosystems. A keen study from the institute vividly brought out the fact over the recent years that although genetic and agronomic potentials of cotton cultivars are achievable in our cotton farms, the major factors for the widening yield gaps are biological, social and economical. Out of a dozen constraints that were identified by this institute in a recent keen study, the controllable constraints outnumber the uncontrollable ones such as wealth, soil and the like. Poor plant population stand, non-uniform sowing dates, subdued and injudicious input use, endemic and bursts of insect build up, crop competitions in the cropping system etc. are those constraints that could be addressed seriously.

It is in this context and with the earlier successful approach of "Mission Mode" in Oilseeds during the '90s, it has been thought appropriate to follow a similar mode for the improvement of production and quality of cotton, bringing the entire gamut of research, development including technology transfer, marketing and processing of cotton under one umbrella. The Technology Mission on Cotton [TMC] was launched on 21st February, 2000 by Government of India.

Mini Missions and their Goals

  • Increase the productivity per hectare of cotton from present level of 300 kg lint/ha to 450 kg/ha and to increase production from 16.3 million bales to 24.0 million bales in the end of tenth plan period.
  • Development of new technologies and varieties which can perform better under water stress and high pest incidence condition and give good yield of quality cotton.
  • Transfer of new technology and financial assitance to the farmers to reduce their production costs and improve farmers' income
  • Improve marketing infrastructure to ensure proper grading and auction at regulated markets, ensuring that growers get full price for thier produce and also improve physical facilities at regulated markets.
  • Improve the seed cotton (kapas) processing for reducing contamination and thereby improving quality of raw cotton for further end user.

The Mini-Missions, thier nodal agencies and broad objectives are as follows


Mini Mission I: Improve cotton production and productivity through cotton research and technology generation - ICAR

Mini Mission II: Transfer of Technology and development - Department of Agriculture & Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture

Mini Mission III: Improvement of marketing infrastructure - Ministry of Textiles

Mini Mission IV: Quality improvement by upgradation and modernisation of ginning & pressing industries- Ministry of Textiles

The working of TMC will be co-ordinated by Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. Agriculture Commissioner has been designated as Mission Director. An Empowered Committee under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary is to oversee, monitor and direct the TMC and also decide the modification in components, areas of operation etc. as may be considered essential from time to time.


  • Genetic improvement with inbuilt resistance to biotic and a biotic stresses for quality cotton production
  • Develop farm worthy cotton production technologies through effective resource management
  • Quality nucleus and breeder seed production commensurate with seed replacement rates
  • Conduct farmers' participatory trials for promotion and awareness of the potential technologies
  • Utilise cotton by-produce for the manufacture of value-added products


To improve cotton production by about 50% over the years from an area 9.0 m ha by producing globally competitive, clean and quality cotton in a sustainable manner for domestic consumption and value added export.


To enhance cotton productivity and profitability by exploiting the untapped potentials of diploid cotton and rainfed cotton, through improved varieties/hybrids insulated against biotic and abiotic stresses, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), improved natural resource management, value addition and product diversification.


The information on background furnished in terms of Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat (SWOT) analysis of the cotton situation will enable one to understand the potentials for exploitation through the mission:


  • Availability of huge collection of widely varying germplasm accessions in the National Cotton Gene Bank.
  • A well established research network comprising National Institutes and State Agricultural Universities as well as private sector institutions
  • Availability of highly trained scientific and technical manpower
  • All the four cultivated species of the cotton are commercially grown in our country which is unique in the world
  • The only country to attain the premier status amongst the cotton growing countries of the world in developing and commercialization of cultivation of hybrid cotton including inter-and intra-specific hybrids.
  • The R&D efforts carried out till date has brought about significant improvement in the production and has transformed the country from the status of an importing nation till seventies to one of an exporting nation in the last two decades.
  • availability of huge untapped potential in the form of stress resistant G. arboreum cotton for future varieties/hybrids development programmes.


  • 65% of cotton growing area under rainfed conditions facing the vagaries and uncertainties of monsoon.
  • Cotton cultivation on marginal lands without adequate attention to soil and water conservation.
  • Proneness to varied insect pests throughout the crop period and development of pesticide resistance by some of the major pests.
  • Non-availability of bollworm resistant genetic resource and cultivars.
  • Non-availability of varieties with inbuilt tolerance/resistance to major abiotic stresses limiting productivity.
  • Inadequate and suboptimal use of major inputs.
  • Non-availability of appropriate farm machinery for various operations in different cotton growing zones.
  • The resource crunch and institutional credit shyness by farmers due the risk - prone rainfed cotton cultivation.
  • Some of the emerging problems such as leaf curl virus, resurgence of minor pests posing threat to cotton cultivation.


  • Textile exports of our country contribute more than 30% (nearly Rs.44,000 crores) of total foreign exchange earnings. Cotton constitutes almost 60% of raw material for textiles and garments. Prospects of significant increase in textile exports is there as a result of GATT accord in the coming decades.
  • Cotton by-products(Cotton seed oil, particle board and paper from cotton stalk) will play a significant role in the national economy in the years ahead.
  • Higher levels of hybrid seed production coupled with the immense scope for cotton by product generation is likely to provide large scale employment in the rural sector.
  • Cultivation of eco-friendly cotton through integrated approaches for input, pests and disease management and enhanced use of organics, biofertilizers and bio-agents along with botanicals will ensure sustainable and environment friendly production of cotton and specialty products to cater to certain niche markets.
  • Spread of cotton cultivation to non-traditional areas in Orissa, WestBengal, North Eastern States, UttarPradesh and Jammu and Kashmir benefiting the farmers to realize higher returns.


  • Very high risk prone nature of the crop due to high levels of pest incidence vagaries of monsoon and soil factors.
  • Indiscriminate use of pesticides to the development of insecticide resistance in major insect pests and environmental pollution.
  • Use of high levels of input resulting in the development of salinity and alkalinity in the irrigated tracts especially in north zone and sub - optimal input use in rainfed cotton causing emergence of nutrient deficiencies.
  • Trans-national spread of diseased and pests, (as in case of leaf curl virus) is likely to affect productivity.
  • Competition from man made fibres is likely to be on the increase.



Source : TMC Cell, Nagpur

Information compiled, Page designed and developed by M. Sabesh, Scientist(SS), CICR, Coimbatore