Interview with Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela

Face2Face
Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela
Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela
Union Minister of Textiles,
Govt.of India
Govt.of India

To my overseas friends, I wish to state that
Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela is the Union Minister of Textiles - Government of India. An M.A. in Economics and educated at Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Mr. Shankersingh Vaghela has sound experience as an agriculturist , educationist , political & social worker. He stepped into Congress Party in the year 1971 and has held several key positions in the Cabinet. He also leads number of socio-religious and educational institutions as a Trustee ; providing medical aid, free food, clothes, books, schools and college fees etc. to the poor and needy; associated with drama activities as Director. He has his expertise and interest even in the field of sports and has been President in North Avenue MPs Club, New Delhi for six years. He is also the founder of Shakti Dal as an NGO for Youth of Gujarat. He has visited almost all the countries of the globe like Canada, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, North Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and U.S.A. Fibre2fashion team is honoured to have an exclusive conversation with Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela, who has elucidated on the efforts his ministry has placed in a move to uphold Indian textile industry right on the top of the global textiles graph.

Under your able leadership, the textile industry got a good boost. What do you have to say on this?

"Well yes, indeed! Until 2004, textile sector was considered 'sunset Sector'. Change in Government that year meant calling for a new approach and aim so as to change the situation to ‘Sunrise Sector.’ But the mute question was how to go about it? To achieve this, we mooted a proposal that emphasized on breaking the CENVAT chain. We convinced the Finance Ministry to remove CENVAT in very first budget of UPA government. As a result, India entered a zero excise regime and textile sector took–off, crossing this major barrier which our industrialists were facing fetching them considerable relief even while this industry took additional strides. In the second Budget, after rolling back the customs duty on machinery imports from five percent down to almost nil enabled machinery manufacturing industry to manufacture machinery within two-three year’s period. Thus, offering custom duty relief facilitated easy import of textile machinery. Also in the previous budget, man-made textile industry which was levied a peak of sixteen percent excise duty stood reduced at half in order to provide a level playing field for domestic manufacturers to compete internationally."

Any further cuts suggested in the next Budget?

We cannot say for sure that all our proposals will be accepted by the Finance Ministry in the budget but I am sure that they will definitely consider our views before coming to final decision.

How is Textile Upgradation Funds Scheme faring?

The Textile Upgradation Funds scheme has received a very good response and the same is coming to an end this year. We are trying to seek extension of this scheme by another two–three years and we have already started the process of framing the proposal for the same. Besides, we have also introduced the Textile Park scheme Specialy Integrated Textile Park (SITP) Scheme under which we offer Rs 40 crores as subsidy for project costing Rs 100 crores. So far, 25 parks have already been cleared and additional 5 parks will get clearance within a month’s time. Thus, all said and done, we got cabinet sanctioned for 30 parks against 25 proposed. We are already under pressure to set up 50 more parks for which, we are optimistic that this offers opportunity for industrialists. We are trying to impress upon the Finance Ministry on this proposal also.

Could we know more on location of textile parks all over India?

"Till now, 6 textile parks have been sanctioned for Gujarat State out of which one or two are located in Surat , one is in Kachchh and two in Ahmedabad, and this scheme has received a positive response within the state. Among other States, 6 will be located in Maharashtra, 2 to 3 in Andhra Pradesh, 2 in Rajasthan while a total of 26 have been cleared. About four additional parks are likely to be sanctioned in near future."

What do you have to say about lower attraction of FDI in Indian textiles sector?

"It is true that we have not been able to attract desired level of FDI within the Textile Sector. Reasons for this are: Irregularity and High cost of Power - here, it is pertinent to note that Power is a state subject. Labor is another deterrent – Incidence of labor strikes resulting in delayed execution of export orders are other important factors responsible for this. In this regards, we had held a conference where Chief Ministers of all States, Textile Ministers, officials, labor associations and industry representatives deliberated in tri-partite meeting discussing about the need among States to ensure uninterrupted power supply and implementation of labor reforms. Hopefully, these and other efforts by us may definitely provide a fillip to attract FDI within the sector in near future, as there is enough possibility for FDI to flow in."

High end manpower comes from institutions and organizations like NIFT but there is not enough for training people in the lower jobs or cadres. What efforts are being made to this end?

"Under the Textile Ministry, we have several schemes to develop and create manpower resources while running autonomous institutes. AEPC also runs some of the training programmes to develop the labor level skills that can empower the lowly worker to qualify as high skilled manpower. NIFT, as you know, falls in the hi-fi category whereas the rest of the institutes in their own independent way generate trained and skilled workers satisfying the demands of the industry. We do have such institutes like SVPITM in Coimbatore, one at Mumbai and at several other places in India. We endeavor to establish their branches in other parts of the country, particularly under the aegis of SITRA, NITRA, ATIRA etc, which are research institutions undertaking such training courses and we support them."
Published on: 19/01/2007

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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