Govt considering linking weaving with MNREGA: Minister

July 18, 2014 - India

The Government of India is considering the idea of linking handloom fabric weaving with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) to protect the interest of the weavers, Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in Parliament in response to a supplementary question, ABP News reports quoting PTI.
 
MNREGA provides 100 days of guaranteed work to people in the rural areas. In the recent past, several employer associations have demanded that the scheme be extended to the textile sector to address the problem of shortage of workers in the industry.
 
The Minister also informed the house that his Ministry has brought the issue of imported Chinese fabric to the notice of the Ministry of Commerce, and requested it to check its inflow into the country.
 
Separately, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Mr. Gangwar said India’s apparel exporters are facing competition from the neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh, mainly due to the zero-duty access enjoyed by these nations for their exports to the EU, difference in wage rates, etc.
 
Last week, Mr. Gangwar said that the Ministry of Textiles has constituted an Expert Committee for reviewing Textile Policy 2000 and formulating a new National Textile Policy.
 
The textile sector is a labour-intensive sector employing the largest number of people after agriculture, in India. Hence, in order to promote the sector, the Government has introduced several export promotion measures in the successive Union Budgets as well as through schemes of Foreign Trade Policy 2009-2014, including harmonized Zero Duty Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme covering all sectors.
 
The Government has also extended the 2% Interest subvention scheme to certain specific sectors such as Handicrafts, Handlooms, carpets, readymade garments, etc.
 
In addition, with a view to promoting textile sector exports to various countries, the Government has initiated various measures such as Incremental Export Incentivisation Scheme, Utilization of Duty Credit Scrip scheme and inclusion of new products under Focus Product Scheme.