Smt. Panabaaka Lakshmi, Minister of State for Textiles, Shri Rajendra Pareek, Minister for Industry, Government of Rajasthan, Shri Rakesh Srivastava, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan and Shri S.S. Gupta, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) were also present during the interactive meet.
While responding to the issues raised by the industry leaders present in the exporters meet Dr. Rao said that the demand of raising of the interest subvention for handicrafts and cottage sector from the existing 2% to 5% is genuine.
He felt that the cost of funds as on today is high and needs to be reasonable so that people could invest more in their business and not in other investment avenues like gold and other fixed assets, which are not productive for the national growth.
He urged the exporters that skill development is the need of the hour and it is important to establish worker linkages between MNREGA and the production in the cottage sector, he said, he would take up the matter in the Cabinet. Further, he also mentioned that he is likely to hold a meeting the Ministry of Finance and discuss issues related to Service Tax on participation in overseas fairs/exhibitions by exporters and also on Membership fees of the Export Promotion Councils.
He was also highly concerned about the issue of classification of items as handicrafts, which leads to delaying of shipments at the customs. He informed that he will take up the matter with Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and the Ministry of Finance.
The Minister disclosed that the Jodhpur Mega Cluster project will be kicked off in a time bound manner within two months. He also assured that a grant of Rs. 10 crores for Handicrafts Productivity Centre would also be put into action at the earliest.
He announced that the problem of wool sector related to quarantine at ports has also been waived off by the intervention of his Ministry.
The Minister also opined that it is the responsibility of the State Government to provide land to the entrepreneurs and also find tangible solutions to the pollution and the related issues. He said that his Ministry would provide all necessary funds for setting up of Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) or other measures for its long-term solutions.
Dr. Rao, while discussing issues emphasized is that craftspersons and workers are the backbone of the industry and urged the industry to provide them their due. He also urged the exporters to come forward and take benefit of the funding schemes of the Central and State Governments which covers skill development, training and workshed housing.
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