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CEO & Secretary General Central Silk Board & International Sericultural Commission respectively
The Government has adopted a two pronged approach for the development of sericulture in the country
Ishita Roy discusses the pros and cons of Indian silk industry with Fibre2Fashion correspondent Mary Christine Joy.
Central Silk Board (CSB) is a statutory body functioning under the Ministry of Textiles, India.
Smt. Ishita Roy is an IAS officer who serves as the CEO and Member Secretary for the CSB. Other than this, she is also the Secretary General for the International Sericultural Commission (ISC).
My first question would be about your journey so far? Being associated with the Central Silk Board and International Sericulture Commission, how has your experience been? What all have you learnt from the industry?
First of all, I extend my sincere thanks to Fibre2Fashion for inviting me to talk about Indian silk industry, which provides livelihood opportunities for a large number of the country's rural populace.
I had earlier worked with diverse sectors, eg. Social Justice and Empowerment, Finance, Information Technology, and Environment.
My journey with the silk sector began in September, 2011, when I joined Central Silk Board (CSB) as its Chief Executive Officer. CSB is the only S&T organization for undertaking research on sericultural sciences in India. The innovations and technologies developed by CSB are being disseminated to the grassroots level stakeholders through a Centrally Sponsored Scheme called "Catalytic Development Programme (CDP)" with the assistance of the State Governments.
My experience of working in CSB has been both challenging and exciting. Challenging, because the silk industry is a combination of different sectors like agriculture, animal husbandry and pure industrial activities. So, the gamut of activities is diverse, involving a long value-chain with varying interests of stakeholders. Also, the geographical space for the sector in our country is expansive and challenging. The focus, therefore, has been on synergy and to address the needs of the various segments of the value-chain.
At this juncture, it is heartening to inform you that the silk industry has recorded its best ever performance during the year 2013-14. Raw silk production reached 26,480 MT indicating an all-time record production and a robust growth of 11.8 % in comparison to 2012-13. Spectacular growth has been witnessed in import substitute bivoltine silk with 29%, 51.47% in Tasar, 35.94% in Eri and 24.37% in Muga. Due to the increase in production of import substitute silk domestically, import of raw silk declined significantly to the level of 34.28% compared to previous year.
My election to the post of Secretary General of the ISC at a global level is not only a fillip to the development of the silk industry in India, but also a good opportunity for India to forge meaningful collaboration with reputed R&D Institutes at the global level. It is also the right time to replicate the Indian success story in sericulture to the potential areas of Asian, African and Latin American countries. Significant work has been done for the last one and half year of ISC's functioning in India. Two new Member Countries; DPR Korea and Bangladesh and Associate Members from 7 countries have enrolled in ISC. We have also initiated many innovative activities eg. Volunteer Expert Programme, Scholarship, training, collaborative research programmes, etc. for the benefit of the member countries. I believe that the efforts of the ISC would lead to the improvement of productivity and quality among the various production bases across the countries in general, and India, in particular.
Honestly, I have learned a lot from the industry. Though it is complex, this sector has all the inherent salient features to address the Millennium Development Goals of tackling poverty and ensuring gender empowerment, besides providing livelihood opportunities. It is interesting to note that the employment generation in the country in the sector is now estimated at 7.96 million persons.
India is among the largest producers of silk in the world. What makes India favorable for silk production?
I must remind you that India is the 2nd largest silk producer of silk in the world. The silk industry in India has been a legacy of its civilization, tradition, and culture, since times immemorial. Indian Silk is famous for its traditional designs and unique craftsmanship. All the known varieties of silks are produced in India. The country also has the largest human resources of eminent scientists, technocrats and specialists, and above all, outstanding artisans and weavers. India also can proudly boast of a robust R&D base in both basic and applied research in silk and sericulture. Hence, it is an ideal silk destination.
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