The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has assured the textile industry that the Government will pay the closest attention to devise appropriate strategies to further promote the growth and the competitiveness of this vital national industry.
The Prime Minister stated this while delivering the inaugural address at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), here. The inaugural session was attended by Shri Shankersinh Vaghela, Union Minister of Textiles, Shri E.V.K.S. Elangovan, Minister of State of Textiles and key representatives of the textile industry.
In making our textile industry globally competitive especially after Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) regime, the Prime Minister said that the UPA Government has focused on three imperatives namely the need to ensure a stable policy environment; the need to support modernization through financing technological upgradation and to help build global brands for Indian textiles.
Recognizing the problems faced by the exporters due to the strengthening of rupee, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the exporters have the enterprise and business acumen to deal with this challenge and improve their competitiveness.
He said that the Government has also taken steps to help mitigate the loss of competitive advantage while ensuring that our external economic management is stable and sustainable.
Giving the details of fiscal measures takenby the Government to strengthen the textile sector, Dr. Manmohan Singh said that the excise duty structure has been completely transformed with large scale concessions. Customs duty for a number of textile machinery items have been reduced and hosiery and knitwear items have been dereserved from the small scale sector.
The Technology Upgradation Fund has been extended into the 11th Plan and the scheme for Integrated Textile Parks in Public-Private Partnership mode has also been expanded. He said that as a result of these measures India is also becoming a major outsourcing hub.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the new growth areas like Technical Textiles will be actively promoted and a Technology Mission on Technical Textiles will be launched to support growth in this area.
Stating that the challenge in the 11th Plan is to increase the skill base to make the sector competitive, the Prime Minister said that the National Skill Development Mission has already identified this as a thrust area. He emphasized the need of innovative responses to increase jobs in the country and the textile industry and suggested the idea of linking guaranteed employment for a certain number of days in a policy frame-work that can meet the genuine demands of the sector.
The Prime Minister stated that the textile sector has been a major pillar of our industrial economy for more than one reason but importantly because of its employment potential. He said "Our Government will come forward and address all your legitimate concerns as long as we can work together to generate more employment".
Referring about the rich traditions of Indian textiles and desire to become a great global leader in textiles, the Prime Minister said "we have to regain that glory and once again become, as we once were, the world's best textile industry. Unfortunately, in the past century, we lost that position. Many other Asian economies, including some of our neighbours, have since overtaken us. With the dismantling of Multi-Fibre Agreement, there is a new opportunity, but we must make up for lost time."
The Prime Minister further stated that the Central Budget presented this year aims at leaving more disposable income in the hands of the masses. This will drive growth of consumption in the country and the textile industry having low level of consumption at present will be one of the major beneficiaries of the boom in consumption.
Speaking on the occasion, the Textiles Minister, Shri Shankersinh Vaghela emphasized the need for value addition to the raw materials within the country. He said the appreciation of rupee has led to the reduction in textile exports. To mitigate the problem of the exporters, the Government has announced several fiscal measures in the last one year. With a view to give more benefit to the industry, the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme has been also extended into the 11th Plan, Shri Vaghela added.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister also released a commemorative volume of CITI titled "Textiles and Beyond". Coinciding with its Golden Jubilee Celebrations, the CITI is organizing a third Asian Textile Conference. The two-day Conference based on the theme of "Textile Growth through Consolidation" is being attended by Textile manufacturers from India and abroad. Experts participating in the Conference would deliberate on the issues affecting the textile industry.