Indian Textiles Minister pushes for labour reforms

July 16, 2013 - India

K. Sambasiva Rao, India’s Minister for Textiles, has said that he will be able to provide an enabling environment for the country’s textiles sector by pushing for labour reforms.
 
Speaking at the “Roundtable on New Textiles Policy” organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi, the Minister said women should be allowed to work in night shifts in garment units, as they are allowed in BPOs.
 
He said since the present law does not permit women to work in night shifts at garment factories, the Textiles Ministry would put a Cabinet note in this regard.
 
He said the textiles sector is seasonal and hence it requires that manufacturing takes place round the clock during a particular time of the year.
 
The Minister indicated that he would push for increasing overtime hours according to ILO laws, provide payments for TUFS scheme on time which will enable the industry to make capital investments, address pricing issues on the raw material side and encourage workers under the NREGA scheme to work for the textile sector.   
 
Mr. Rao said the Government would soon announce the new textile policy aimed at making the country’s textile industry more competitive and boosting the sector’s exports.
 
Ms. Sunaina Tomar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, outlined the need to compile best practices at state level and globally to shape and push for reforms in the Indian textile sector.
 
She said the Government is working with the industry to increase the share of textiles in the manufacturing sector and industry reforms will help the sector to realise its true potential.  
 
Mr. T Kannan, chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles, said branding of Indian textiles in global markets and push for FDI is the need of the hour.  
 
Mr. Sachin Jain, co-chairman of the CII National Committee on Textiles, said an immediate action plan is needed to kick start the consumer revolution by pushing for timely reforms in the textile sector. 
 
Last week, a meeting of the High Level Committee on Manufacturing (HLCM) led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took a decision to frame a new competitiveness strategy for the textiles sector.
 
The core of the strategy is to facilitate the rapid scaling of competitiveness of the garment segment of the textile sector in the country through a comprehensive package of measures.
 
In 2012-13, India’s garment exports dipped by around 5 percent year-on-year to US$ 12.9 billion, mainly owing to reduced demand in the US and the EU, which together account for more than 60 percent of India’s total garment exports.