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Talking Point | January 2015

Focus on technical textiles, garments; boost to handlooms

The new government under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed a revolutionary economic vision based on increasing production, export and generating employment, giving particular attention to productive employment opportunity for the youth, inclusive and participative growth, skill, scale and speed, ´Make in India´ brand, zero defect - zero effect, Adarsh Gram, to name a few. SK Panda, an IAS officer of the Manipur-Tripura cadre of 1990 batch and having wealth of experience of working in various ministries, has taken over the reins of secretary of Ministry of Textiles at the time when the entire textile industry is hoping for the much-needed boost.

When our Assistant Editor Garima Pant met him in New Delhi, SK Panda, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, spoke in detail about the upcoming textile policy, targets for the industry in production and exports, TUF scheme and plans for the next year.

Excerpts...
Garima Pant (GP): Now that the new textile policy is ready, what are the targets for the textile industry in production and exports? What are the prospects one can look at?
Dr SK Panda (SKP):
The textile policy is still in the draft stage. We have to go through a complete rigorous process before finalising it. The draft policy has been put down by a committee headed by Ajay Shankar, who is also a Member Secretary of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (MMCC), and the policy is available even on the website. Regarding the textile draft policy, we have received a number of comments and Shankar is working on those. Thereafter it will be processed internally to some consultants. It will take some time before the final policy is announced.

Since the policy is still in the finalisation stage, it is not proper on my part to divulge any specifications or comment on it. But I can [certainly] tell you the picture from my side. After the new Government was formed at the centre, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid emphasis on three key parameters: 1) PM announced the ´Make in India´ approach, wherein we are inviting companies from outside to come and invest in India and make products in India. 2) PM also mentioned about ´zero defect - zero effect´ scheme, wherein the emphasis should be on quality and taking care of the environment. 3) PM mentioned that we should go for skill, scale and speed. This is the broad mandate on which the Ministry is working on. Textile is the second most important sector in India providing employment after the agricultural sector.

You might have come across the most common phrase in India, i.e., ´Roti, Kapda aur Makaan´ (food, clothing and shelter), here also kapda (clothing) comes right after roti (food). Textiles is not only the essential need for the mankind, it also provides employment. The basic objective is that we should produce quality materials for meeting our internal demand, and also go for exports.

The textile industry is broadly divided into two categories, i.e., organic and inorganic. Organic sector includes spinning, weaving, processing, among others; while inorganic sectors include sericulture, handloom, jute, wool, cotton, etc.

The Government is also dedicated towards the ´sabka saath, sabka vikas´ scheme, which means together with all, development for all. In this, our inorganic sector plays a crucial role. On 17 September, textile ministers had organised a workshop on empowering women through sericulture. We invited two ladies each from all the states in India. They were invited on the basis of achieving excellence in sericulture. A total of 54 women were present during the function, wherein they were felicitated for the achievements in sericulture. During the meet, we launched a film on sericulture directed by me, and also a book.

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