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Anand Sharma says weaver low rate loans a game changer
Mar '13
The Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma has welcomed the announcements made by the Finance Minister on textiles sector in his Budget Speech. Shri Sharma, while delivering the keynote address during the one-day conference on National Consultation on Handloom sector, here said that the announcement for providing fresh working capital and term loans to our weavers at a substantially low rate of only 6 per cent from the earlier high rate of 14 per cent without interest subvention or 11 per cent with 3 per cent interest subvention will benefit 1.5 lakh individual weavers and 1800 primary cooperatives.

“This is perhaps for the first time that such a big policy roll out in sync with the demands of this community has been announced by any Government and I am confident that this single policy initiative of the UPA Government will become a game changer for this sector,” said Shri Sharma. `Our aim was to bring this at par with Khadi and we have done this` he added.

The Minister said that the Textiles Ministry is in the process of making a paradigm shift in how it defines the Handloom Sector, without compromising on its core strength of being a hand woven sector. “After intense stakeholder consultations, we, under the Handloom Reservation of Articles for Production Act, 1985, propose to include hybrid looms where one of the three primary motions of shedding, picking and beating can be mechanical,” said Shri Sharma.

He expressed the hope that this will greatly facilitate the weavers as this will not only be in sync with ground realities but also substantially reduce the drudgery associated with weaving. He clarified that this would be done without a conflict of interest with the hand woven technique, which is the exclusive domain of this sector and also its core strength.

Shri Sharma also proposed a new Comprehensive Integrated Handloom Cluster Scheme for 5000 plus handlooms to complete the missing link in terms of providing infrastructure support to the handloom sector. He also proposed that the facility of making available at subsidised rates cotton and silk yarn under the 10% price subsidy scheme for which a provision of Rs 1300 crores has been made in the Financial Package through the agency of the National Handloom Development Corporation (NHDC), will now be extended to other fibres like jute, wool and coir.

“This will greatly benefit the large but scattered concentration of looms and weavers in the North East Region as there is also a 2.5 per cent transport subsidy available under this Package,” said Shri Sharma.

Shri Sharma further highlighted that in order to extend the outreach of the Handloom Package to cover more cooperative societies, “the Ministry has proposed certain amendments as demanded by a large number of States, whose Chief Ministers have written to me to relax the net worth and norms for potentially viable societies,” said Shri Sharma.

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