Govt sets textiles export target of $33 billion for 2012-13

Textiles minister Anand Sharma informed the Lok Sabha that the export target for the next year has been set at $33 billion, up from the current year’s target was $28 billion

New Delhi: The government has set an export target of $33 billion for the textiles sector next year despite the global economic slowdown, which it termed a ‘serious concern’ and said steps have been taken to address the ‘challenge’, reports PTI.

Textiles minister Anand Sharma told the Lok Sabha that the textiles sector has witnessed a slowdown due to various factors, including the poor global economic situation.

Maintaining that it was a matter of ‘serious concern’ in a reply to supplementaries, Mr Sharma said steps have been initiated to address the ‘challenges’.

The government has constituted six high-level inter-ministerial committees with representation from various ministries and departments, including the Planning Commission, to review and evaluate the performance of the textiles industry.

He said the export target for the next year has been set at $33 billion. The current year’s target was $28 billion.

In reply to a supplementary from Basudeb Acharya (CPM), the minister said so far, the government has not received any complaint of dumping of Chinese raw silk in the Indian market and maintained that natural calamities in China have reduced production of silk in that country.

Mr Sharma, however, said mechanisms like safeguard duty help the government to check dumping of commodities in Indian markets.

He maintained that Chinese silk was helping weavers in India as the production of raw silk has come down in the country.

The minister said the establishment of 21 new integrated textile parks was approved in October this year at a cost of Rs2,100 crore to create world-class infrastructure for the textiles industry.

As several members were not satisfied with the reply of the minister and wanted to place more supplementaries, Speaker Meira Kumar said a half-an-hour discussion on the textiles sector could be held if members give notice.

In reply to another question on the handloom census, Mr Sharma said the handloom sector is facing competition from the mechanised sector and also from cheap imported fabrics.

He said the flow of credit to the handloom sector has been characterised by high costs, low disbursement levels and choking of credit lines due to a “debt over-hang”.

At this, PC Chacko (Congress) said while the minister, as in-charge of the commerce ministry, has taken initiatives on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, he should now concentrate on weavers in the textiles ministry.

He said promises made to weavers during the Budget should be implemented before the next General Budget is presented in Parliament.

Mr Sharma said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved a Rs3,884 crore loan waiver package for the handloom sector. He said the package will reopen choked credit lines for handloom weavers and their societies and will benefit three lakh handloom weavers.

At this, BJP members shouted that while there are over 43 lakh handloom weavers according to latest census, the scheme would only help three lakh of them.

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