AHMEDABAD: Union commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said that there was a need to promote the textile industry to give a boost to the manufacturing sector, whose contribution to the country’s GDP is just 16 per cent. “Contribution of manufacturing sector is only 16 per cent to our economy.
It is also a fact that the textile sector is a major player in that contribution. But when only 16 per cent of our GDP comes from manufacturing, it is not enough for a sustainable economy. Thus, it is necessary to scale up that contribution,” said Prabhu at the inaugural ceremony of a threeday event titled ‘Farm to Fashion - Indian Textile Global Summit 2018’.
The minister said that he was holding talks with various countries to explore new markets for Indian fabrics, garments and apparel in order to boost exports. He also said that the industry was working at a “sub-optimal” level, for its overdependence on the European Union and the US for exports. “We mainly export to the US and Europe. And, when the season goes away in those markets, we do not have enough orders, as we don’t have markets in other parts of the world,” the minister said, adding that things can change if they get orders from new markets.
“We are talking to Latin American countries to explore new markets for our products. We are also working on making khadi a globally accepted garment. We are also exploring Australia as a potential market,” Prabhu said. Despite the government’s efforts, India’s exports of textile and apparel saw a marked decline of 4 per cent to Rs 2.28 lakh crore in fiscal 2018 as compared to Rs 2.38 lakh crore reported in the previous fiscal, as per data provided by the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry. Experts say that GST implementation and global competition is affecting India’s textile and apparel industry. Prabhu added that the Centre was encouraging foreign direct investment in the textile sector, which according to Prabhu has the potential to create “millions of jobs”.