In the backdrop of upcoming elections in northeastern states, minister of textile Smriti Irani on Tuesday elaborated on the work done by her ministry in the region. From the push given to sericulture in the region, for which an amount of Rs 690 crore has been earmarked, to the setting up of 21 ready-made garment manufacturing units in seven states, the focus was on the development and modernization of textile sector by the Centre.
Irani, who is also planning to visit the northeast soon – as a star campaigner as well as to participate in the hastkala sahyog shivir (camps in handloom and handicraft clusters) – said she would be focussing on the shivirs in the northeast this time around. “I started with UP and hope to visit as many shivirs as possible. This time, I am planning on going to the northeast clusters,” said Irani, who added that the camps will be held between February 19 to 24. The project, added the textile minister, is likely to give a big push to creating more jobs, especially for women in the region, while also leading to enhancement of infrastructure in the N-E like roads, power, water supply and construction of offices. According to the handloom census 2009-10, there are 23.77 lakh handlooms in the country of which 16.47 lakh handlooms (69.28 per cent) are in the NE region.
Irani said that 21 readymade garment manufacturing units have already become fully operational in the seven states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura. The one in Sikkim is under construction. “Three factories have become fully operational in each of the seven states in a record time of two years,” said Irani, adding that each factory employs around 1,200 people, mainly women. “The factories are owned by local entrepreneurs and agencies like the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India, Arvind Mills and Apparel Export Promotion Council are guiding the entrepreneurs as part of the pilot project,” added the minister.
Under the scheme, the ministry has provided Rs 18 crore fund to each readymade garment manufacturing unit while NBCC has constructed the units and the state governments provided 1.5 acre land. Irani also spoke about initiatives like the 39 per cent increase in allocation for remission of state levies (ROSL) in the budget, which she said would help boost textile export. The dudget allocation for ROSL scheme has been raised to to Rs 2,163.85 crore from Rs 1,555 crore in 2017-18. Allocations under the technology upgradation fund scheme (TUFS) have also been increased by 15 per cent in the Budget, she said, adding that the Rs 6,000-crore package announced for apparel sector last year, and 39 percent increase in ROSL would help push the exports. The minister added that in the past one year, the government has given the industry close to Rs 1,800 crore as a part of this package and a payment of Rs 300 crore is in the pipeline for this financial year.