Interview with Mukul Singhal

Face2Face
Mukul Singhal
Mukul Singhal
Additional Chief Secretary
Dept of Handlooms, Textiles & Sericulture,Govt of UP, India
Dept of Handlooms, Textiles & Sericulture,Govt of UP, India

A lot of labour has migrated from UP to other textile hubs like Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu for work. What labour reforms are in the offing under the policy?

It is true that the labour is from UP and is working in places as far as Tiruppur. For national integration that is a very good thing. But for the convenience of residents of UP, not so great. The new policy focuses on giving jobs to people in UP itself, especially in Bundelkhand and the eastern part of the state, where a lot of labour has migrated to Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra for work in this sector. We are also providing special incentives to those who set up industries here. There is likelihood of people getting jobs in proximity to their homes.

There is a lot of thrust by the UP government on shifting tanneries to clean Ganga. What steps are being taken in this direction?

The environment department of the state looks after it. There are court directives also on this subject. The state government will follow the court directives, but before that the state will share its point of view. We would like minimum disruption, but we do not want the Ganges to be polluted.

What will be the special incentives given to Poorvanchal, Bundelkhand and Madhyanchal?

The policy provides for a number of incentives. Anybody who buys land for setting up parks will be given an interest subsidy and the stamp duty is exempt. When you buy land from government agencies to set up an industry, you get 50 per cent subsidy from the state government. In Gautam Budh Nagar, the subsidy is 30 per cent. There is a capital subsidy of 25 per cent for units. There is an employment generation subsidy of ₹3,200. There are easy terms for electricity; we have tried to integrate the Pradhanmantri Awas Yojna with industrial parks and large industries, which employ lots of people. This would ensure people get accommodation close to their place of work. We are also giving transport subsidy for export and GST reimbursement. There is a plethora of incentives that we are giving. I dare say that this would be one of the best set of incentives ever provided in the country.

What is the annual production of the textiles sector? What percentage is exported?

UP is the third largest fabric producing state with a production of 13.4 per cent. In terms of silk production and silk saris we have a very large sector. Unfortunately, our problem has been the unavailability of silk yarn, since it is not produced in UP.  We produce the cocoons, and buyers from West Bengal and Karnataka purchase them, and then they make yarns and send them back to us. This policy takes care of that. We are providing special incentives in rural areas to farmers and entrepreneurs to set up reeling units. Units that will buy cocoons from UP and convert into threads in the state will also get a working capital interest subsidy. We intend to promote silk production within UP. We also have set up a mission to increase silk production and hemp. Handloom, being a priority sector for us, we have special provisions to give scholarships to those who want to learn the art. We have also proposed a policy to provide capital subsidy to buy equipment to colleges that wish to train students in handlooms and powerlooms. We are also going to dovetail the government of India's schemes with additional benefits from the state government to encourage handloom and powerloom. The bigger thing that is forgotten about UP is that we are very good with embroidery like zari, zardosi, and chikankari. We also want to encourage that. We want these new parks that come up to be in adjoining pockets where such embroidery happens. We are looking at creation of self-help groups (SHG) of women in rural areas and integrate them with the textile and garment units.

Several states are offering attractive policies to investors. Please tell us why they should invest in UP.

A lot of locally available talent, a huge market, and a very proactive government.

The textiles industry is hugely dominated by MSMEs. What is being done to encourage investment from MSMEs in this sector?

The textiles policy is comprehensive. It lists financial incentives, but all other aspects of ease of doing business like single window clearing system are already detailed in the industrial policy of UP.  They are all a part of the textiles policy, which incorporates all details of the ease of doing business. The other big difficulty has been the availability of land, which we have taken care of by identifying land banks. The state industrial development corporation and other organisations have identified land banks for setting up units. The policy also talks of plug-and-play units. We would try and build some of these. This will help us create focus areas, the natural ones being eastern UP and Bundelkhand.

What would be your concluding thoughts?

I want everyone to feel very comfortable when they come to UP. All industries small and big are welcome. All kind of investment has its role to play. Traditionally textiles and stitching have been the core skills in UP. The state is a very traditional society and all women and young girls are encouraged to learn stitching and sewing. Despite this, there is a huge workforce of men who are involved in this activity; so, it's an activity where all men and women are involved and the society gives complete sanction to this. This is the strength of UP, and anybody who wants to invest in UP should look at it as a very attractive destination. With the implementation of the new policy, people will find it attractive. I have already started receiving calls from Trichy showing interest to invest in UP. Last but not the least, the credit for such a liberal policy should go to the chief minister and the government.
Published on: 14/02/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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