"Loans for cultivation of various crops, including Bt Cotton, are by themselves not responsible for the indebtedness of the farmers.

"Successive crop failure and expenditure on health, marriages and other social ceremonies are major reasons for indebtedness of farmers in the country," Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said during Question Hour.

To a question on whether the promotion of cultivation of Bt Cotton had lead to increase in indebtedness among cotton growers in Maharashtra, Singh answered in the negative and
said Bt Cotton hybrids had been widely accepted by farmers.

"The area under Bt Cotton covers more than 90 per cent of the total area under cotton cultivation," he said.

The Minister said government fixes Minimum Support Price of various crops including cotton after taking into account the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

"Government is also implementing crop insurance schemes... to compensate farmers, including cotton growers, against losses in crop yield due to non-preventable risks such as natural calamities, pests and disease and adverse weather conditions," he said.

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