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Debate over customs duty on imported raw silk intensifies
Sep '11
The ongoing debate over the issue of customs duty imposition on imported raw silk has intensified with the southern sericulture lobby and silk weavers from Varanasi putting across different viewpoints.

On the one hand, a few Member of Parliament (MPs) from Karnataka supporting southern sericulture lobby are seeking that the customs duty on imported raw silk should be hiked.

On the other, a Congress MP from Uttar Pradesh has urged the Union Textiles Minister Anand Sharma to consider all aspects before deciding on the same, in the interest of all the stakeholders.

In a written communication, the MP said the Union Ministry should be considerate about the silk weavers in south, but not at the cost of being detrimental to the silk weavers in UP's Varanasi and other States.

During fiscal 2010-11, as against the country's overall demand for 28,634 MT of raw silk, India produced just 19,600 MT, which necessitated the country to import the remaining 9,034 MT.

In fact, since 1975, the demand-supply gap for raw silk in the country has remained at around 10,000 MT.

A Varanasi-based association believes that the sericulturists and Karnataka reelers' disagreement over reduction in customs duty on raw silk brought in from China is not proper. According to it, the raw silk producers in India are earning considerable returns by offering the commodity at a price slightly lower than the market price of raw silk imported from China.

The association termed this as absolute profiting and a move that deprives weavers, particularly the handloom sector weavers.

The sericulturists and reelers from Karnataka are resisting any reduction in customs duty on imported raw silk as this would result in a reduction in price which would require them to slash their prices too, the association said.

It opined that rather than resisting the decrease in price, the domestic raw silk producers should exert to raise their production so that they can bridge the existing demand-supply gap of 10,000 MT.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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