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New Leadership, Export Program for Indian Textiles

The textiles industry of India is benefitting from newly-established leadership and a program designed to increase garment exports.

Indian Prime Minister Modi reshuffled his council of ministers, adding Mrs. Smriti Zubin Irani as a cabinet-ranked textile minister. Additionally, Mr. Ajay Tamta was named Minister of State, serving as deputy to the cabinet minister.

India, which is one of the few countries with an independent textiles ministry, has recently had only a Minister of State with independent charge for the industry. The current reshuffle provides the industry with a ministerial position that has a seat in the Indian cabinet.

Prime Minister Modi has been emphasizing the importance of strengthening the manufacturing sector in India, with his “Make in India” initiative. Textiles is an important sector in the manufacturing industry, and the recent ministry change by the Prime Minister signals his support for the textiles sector in India.

India’s textile sector is the second largest employment generator next only to agriculture.

Recently, Prime Minister Modi’s government unveiled a special assistance package to support employment in the textiles sector and boost garment exports to $30 billion in the next three years.

The program is labor friendly and empowers women and the underprivileged working in the garment and allied sectors. In three years, the initiative is expected to attract additional investments worth $11 billion and provide 10 million new jobs.

An important aspect is that the garment exporting units will enjoy a 5% additional duty drawback, which will help boost the competitiveness of Indian exports in foreign markets. This initiative will cost the government about $800 million (Rs.5500 crores) annually.

Garment sectors are set to benefit tremendously. According to the government, this initiative will aid social transformation by uplifting women in rural areas, as 70% of the workforce in the garment sector are women.

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