But no date yet for new policy; North-East given highest priority: Irani
Our Bureau The Textiles Ministry is working on finalising the long-pending National Textiles Policy, but the government is not yet ready to give out a time-line for its announcement. “Following our consultations with various expert groups and industry representatives, three-four things had come up and three different steering committees were made,” said Textiles Minister Smriti Irani at a press conference on Tuesday. These groups are trying to find ways to address various challenges being faced by the sector including identifying natural fibre growth possibilities and global best practices and roping in States for proper certification of jute seeds, she added.
“When we are ready to announce the textiles policy we will let you know,” Irani told reporters. The proposed national textiles policy, which has been under discussions for several years, was initially reported to have set a target of achieving $300 billion textile exports by 2024-25, and creating around 35 million new jobs.
When asked whether she was concerned over the recent decline in garments exports, Irani said that the Economic Survey had highlighted that the incentive package for apparels had increased exports by 16 per cent, which was very encouraging. The pending textiles policy notwithstanding, the Textiles Ministry was continuously identifying the biggest needs of the industry and addressing them, Irani said. “Big steps have already been taken such as announcement of the package for garments sector, enhancement under MEIS (Merchandise Export from India Scheme) and outreach for weavers and the artisan community,” she said.
Development and modernisation of the textile sector in the North-Eastern States were being given the highest priority by the Textiles Ministry, Irani pointed out. This will create more jobs, especially for women of that region and also improve the infrastructure of North-Eastern states such as roads, power, water supply and construction of offices, she said. There are 23.77 lakh handlooms in the country of which 16.47 lakh handlooms (69.28 per cent) are in the North-East region as per the Handloom Census of 2009-10. Twenty-one ready-made garment manufacturing units are fully operational in the seven States of the North-East. “Three factories have become fully operational in each of the seven States in a record time of two years,” Irani said.