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Basic necessities priority for govt: Irani on GST slabs
21
Nov '16
Basic necessities of food, clothing and housing were priorities for the government, Union textiles minister Smriti Irani has said. The minister was responding to demands from Gujarat state textile players that textile and apparel goods be included in the lowest slab under the proposed Goods & Services Tax (GST), likely to be rolled out from April 1, 2017.

Irani was in Ahmedabad at an interactive session titled 'Textiles: Today & Tomorrow' at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI), which was attended by representatives of various segments in the Gujarat textile value chain.

According to the minister, Gujarat is well placed to become a textile production hub for the world. She suggested that the industry has inter-regional conversations not just limited to Gujarat but also with stakeholders across India.

On the long pending FTA with the European Union, which was impacting exports from India, while those of Bangladesh were zooming ahead due to preferential tariffs, she said the negotiations would be done keeping in mind the interest of the Indian textile industry. However, she did not provide a timeline by which the FTA would be finalised or come in to force.

On offering subsidies to those who wanted to invest their own capital under TUFS as against subsidies offered only on bank loans, she said the TUFS scheme was meant for those who did not have capital in hand and hence they were the ones who needed those subsidies.

“Technical textiles will be given top priority under the to be announced National Textiles Policy, as it was an area in which, there was huge potential for growth and for which there was a need to stitch collaborations with companies of various countries like Germany and Japan,” she said. “There was potential for huge growth in geotextiles and agrotextiles, which would also benefit farmers in the country.”

Irani also informed that wellness garments were taking off in the western countries, which provides an opportunity for the Indian khadi to be processed with ayurvedic drugs to offer wellness garments.

On the seasonal nature of employment in the garment industry, she said the Rs 6,000 crore garment package has already become effective and under it, the government was providing various benefits to the employees, so that companies were not burdened with providing various compliance benefits to the workers.

The minister also added that it was the job of various textile and garment associations, including the GCCI, to inform the various SMEs in the sector about the benefits offered by the package.

Irani also suggested collaborations between stakeholders in various segments of the Gujarat textile value chain like ginners, spinners, weavers, fabric processors and also garment producers to set up integrated facilities, to ensure that raw cotton produced in the state is processed in the state itself, while also adding value through processing cotton.

She urged trade bodies to approach the ministry with the challenges they were facing and it would be her endeavour to see that they are addressed to the utmost possible. (AR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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