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Cover Story | February 2017

Powerlooms still a force to reckon with

Today the need of hour for powerlooms is proper marketing of products in order to gain profit and flourish business activity.

Maharashtra is having the highest number of powerlooms among other states. Some of the major clusters of powerloom in the state are Bhiwandi, Ichalkaranji, Solapur, Malegaon, Dhule and Sangli. Out of the total 25 lakh powerlooms about in India, Maharashtra is having around 13 lakh powerlooms. Around 25 lakh workers are working in these powerloom units in Maharashtra. Some of the schemes of Government of India like TUFS, In-situ, Group Workshed Scheme, Group Insurance scheme, etc. have given a push to development of this sector and also provided social security to the workers. Around 60 per cent of fabric production is from powerlooms and thus is the real backbone of fabric industry.

Some of the issues of powerloom sector are:

  • As TUFS scheme has given an impetus to technological development of powerlooms in Maharashtra, the margin money subsidy provided under TUFS at 30 per cent should be continued as this sector is mainly consisting of small and medium units facing financial constraint.
  • The subsidy given under current Maharashtra State Textile Policy is applicable to Vidarbha, Marathwada, North Maharashtra, etc. only which should be extended to other left areas of Maharashtra like Bhiwandi, Solapur, Ichalkaranji, etc.
  • Housing colony at subsidised rates should be provided to powerloom workers in order to retain them in this sector, who are actually supporting the production.
  • Today the need of hour is proper marketing of products in order to gain profit and flourish business activity. Therefore clusters like Bhiwandi and Malegaon should be provided with cloth market facility and in order to get raw materials at their vicinity raw material depot should be made available.
  • The powerloom weavers are generally belonging to SME sector i.e. they are economically weaker section and thus require more subsidy or financial support from Government. Some states provide subsidy to powerloom units for electricity, whereas in some states power tariffs are high, thus a standard reasonable fixed rate should be provided to powerloom units.
  • The sudden fluctuation and recent hike in raw cotton prices adds to the problem further, which affects the spinning sector and the yarn rate increases considerably. Whereas on the other hand any increase in prices of fabrics is not absorbed by the market proportionately.
  • Soon GST is going to be implemented in India.
  • Most of the powerloom weavers are from cottage and small units and are not very educated to maintain records for GST. Moreover, the job worker is weaving the fabric for Master Weaver which is mainly grey fabric and which is not billed, it is only a contract job, hence GST should not be imposed on grey fabric manufacturers and grey master weavers.
  • To provide infrastructure support to the powerloom weavers setting up of Common Facility Centre (CFC) will be beneficial which will provide facilities like design centre/testing facility/training centre/sales depot/water treatment plant/pre weaving facilities, etc.

The textile industry, which is the second largest employer after agriculture in India, is a major industry in Maharashtra also. Powerloom is the backbone of textile industry and thus this sector needs better exploration in the domestic as well as global market by promotional activities and financial support form Government.

Courtesy: Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council

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