Vaghela weaves yarns of hope for textile sector

November 15th, 2008 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 15 (IANS) Textiles Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela Saturday sought to dispel the gloom engulfing the Indian textile sector, reeling under global economic downturn, slump in export orders and liquidity crunch.”These are hard times. If the West sneezes, we have a habit of catching cold. The prevailing uncertainty due to global recession is bound to impact us. In such challenging times, we must focus on the domestic market, which is still insulated from the financial meltdown,” Vaghela said, inaugurating the eighth India international textile machinery exhibition here.

Addressing about 500 trade delegates from India and abroad participating in the seven-day expo, Vaghela said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was seized of the problems faced by the sector and was taking measures to sustain the growth momentum.

“The recession will not last long, being cyclical in nature. After four years of double-digit growth in a buoyant economy, the sudden downturn in the textile sector is causing hardship due to the user industry (textile mills) facing slowdown and withholding investments in modernisation or expansion,” Vaghela said.

Allaying fears of negative growth in the sector due to lower consumption of textiles and declining export orders, the minister said even at seven percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate, there was headroom to improve business by ensuring quality and marketing the products at affordable price.

On the industry plea to ban import of second-hand machinery as in China, Vaghela said the demand was under consideration of his ministry though the domestic manufacturers were raising the issue over the last four years.

Asked what measures were being taken to bail out the textile sector, Vaghela told IANS on the sidelines of the event that his ministry was open to address the concerns but declined to commit on some of the demands, which were in the purview of the finance and commerce ministries.

“Let them (industry players) represent to me their specific problems so that we could provide relief. When the rupee strengthened in the last fiscal (2007-08), we gave relief to exporters. Now that the rupee has weakened dramatically in the last three months, a section of the industry is seeking incentives, as export orders from the US and European markets have dwindled sharply,” Vaghela said.

Being held for the first time in south India at the sprawling Bangalore International Exhibition Eentre, the trade fair has attracted about 750 participants, including 320 overseas firms from 24 countries, including Belgium, China, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US.

“We have shifted the venue to Bangalore from Mumbai where the previous event was held in 2004 due to inadequate infrastructure and absence of an international convention centre in the financial capital. In spite of the downturn, none of the registered exhibitors from India or abroad cancelled their participation,” India International Textile Machinery Exhibitions Society chairman Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu said.

The society is expecting about 100,000 business visitors from across the country and abroad at the trade expo over the week, as it is aimed at promoting the industry and creating an interface for all the stakeholders.

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