CEO & Secretary General Central Silk Board & International Sericultural Commission respectively
Despite having a good production of silk, India is behind many countries of the world in terms of silk export. And to the contrary, India is one of the major importers of silk in the world. Why is it so?
In terms of exports, India is only third to China and Italy. I would like to state that export figures are not commensurate with the production figures, primarily because there is a heavy demand for silk in the domestic sector. We have been able to reduce the gap between demand and supply in the domestic sector by increased production through a strong R&D focus. This has significantly reduced the import of silk from China. However, it is worthwhile to note that significant work needs to be done to improve the quality of Indian silk matching with the best international standards. At this juncture, I am happy to state that under the 12th Plan period for our country, we have rolled out an ambitious plan to increase the production of the best quality, bivoltine silk which is also import substitute silk. I believe that by the year 2020, Indian silk can become self reliant.
How is the demand for silk in the country? Is it increasing or is it decreasing?
As I explained earlier, at all India level, the aggregate consumption of pure silk textiles manufactured in this sector is 26 & 27 million metres in 2011 and 2012 as compared to 23 million metres in 2010, resulting in a positive growth of 17.39%. The increased demand is met by stepping up domestic production through productivity improvement and area expansion and also import of silk from China.
How is the demand for Indian silk in the global market? To which countries does India export most of its silk? Can you give some information in that regards?
As stated earlier, Indian export of silk is next to that of China and Italy. India trades in all segments of silk and silk products.
Indian silk export destinations are; USA, UK, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, and Hongkong. Our exports are now also being directed to the Middle East, UAE in particular, Australia and North American countries.
What initiatives have been taken by the government for the development of the Indian silk industry?
The Government has adopted a two pronged approach for the development of sericulture in the country.
First and foremost, we seek to enhance the productivity and quality of silk through focused R&D efforts, better seed quality management and inculcating quality consciousness in all the production processes. Initiation of implementing the strategies in this direction has begun through the 300 units of Central Silk Board spread across different parts of the country. We have also initiated research in the frontier areas through forged collaboration with IITs, IISC, CDFD, NCL and also with reputed laboratories in Japan, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria and Italy.
The second is a much more innovative and unique approach, whereby the innovations and technologies developed by CSB are being disseminated through a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CDP) by incentivizing investments among the grassroots level stakeholders. The State Governments also complement these efforts by contributing their part of the assistance to stakeholders and undertaking extension and marketing activities. This has been found very effective and we plan to implement more number of innovative and flexible schemes in the days to come.
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